18 years after their last album release, A Tribe Called Quest has blessed us with new music, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. In march, while the group was recording this masterpiece, they lost their beloved member to complications arising from Diabetes. The group had been working on a new album since last November, unknown to many people. The album, titled “Thank You…We Got It From Here”, came alongside their debut performance on Saturday Night Live. With their performance came a beautiful tribute to Phife, and they enlisted longtime collaborators and friends Busta Rhymes and Consequence to perform “The Space Program, which ended with an emotional group hug between all.

They opened their performance with “We the People”, which directs attention towards the longstanding xenophobia, bigotry, and hate that has been present in this country, not to mention in the recent election of Donald Trump. This song is somewhat of a political protest when looking at the message presented and the power felt when listening. During their performance, a banner dropped that presented Phife’s face within a piece of art, and as his verses echoed through  the speakers Q-Tip and Jarobi held their mics up to his face, and his presence only made the performance all the more powerful.

In an interview with Fader, Q-Tip and Jarobi were asked about the meaning behind their song, We the People, and about the eerie accuracy of portraying the current cultural tensions of America. When asked if they would saw that the group had forseen the outcome of the election, they responded, “Phife had the crystal ball on that one…we didn’t think he was going to win, but the fact that it got that far yanked the shade up on what this country is really like. I think that’s where we wrote from. The first track was more in the spirit of moving forward.”.

The group recorded this album in the home studio of Q-Tip and the love is felt throughout. The group enlisted Kendrick Lamar to rap next to Phife on the record “Conrad Tokyo” and his spirit is felt, as usual, as his lyricism blows us away . We get a poetic feature from Andre 3000 on “Kids”, and Kanye provides a beautiful hook for “Killing Season”, while Talib Kweli helps the track explore “survival in in a racist society using war-damaged veterans as a metaphor”. Elton John and Jack White also made appearances on the album, as well as a “Bennie and The Jets” and, “Willy Wonka” sample on two tracks.

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On the album and moving forward Q-Tip had this to say; “I don’t care how much you depreciated our population in this country and extended the idea of slavery through mass incarceration and uneven policing. You may be diminishing our numbers but you’re never going to diminish our stories. As long as we have the brother who was wronged because he’s a homosexual, or the sister who was wronged because she was Indian and they thought she was Muslim, or that brother that they wronged because they thought he was some gun-toting, reefer-smoking, rap-listening nigga… . We all gonna link arms, believe that. We good”. This album is timeless and shows that A Tribe Called Quest will remain an inspiration and influence for generations to come.

 

If you haven’t heard it yet, you can listen to We Got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service on Spotify, Apple, and Tidal, or stream it below via Spotify.

 

 

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