“Got to get it together forever got to get it together for brothers, got to get it together for sisters, for mothers and fathers and dead niggas, for non conformers one hitter quitters for Tyson types and Che figures. Let’s make something happen.”
The world has shifted and we got exactly what we needed to lift us. A Tribe Called Quest dropped a new album after 18 years. The quote mentioned above is from the first song off the release We Got It From Here … Thank You 4 Your Service called “Space Program”. The words are a call to action to a segment of the community who felt crippled and damaged after the current election cycle. It’s a shot in the arm a reminder that the mission for improvement and freedom is not over with.
To say that this album was highly anticipated is an understatement. This release continues a trend of amazing music that has dropped in 2016. In March of this year one of the members of the group Malik Issac Taylor aka Phife passed away from complications with diabetes at the age of 45. It was a blow to the hip hop community. Hearing his voice on the project is somber, fulfilling and amazing. When Q-Tip mentioned that the album was coming he made it a point to mention that these were not not old Phife bars “No this isn’t filled with old Phife bars…this is that pure, unstepped on pure.”said Q-Tip
That is the best description of this project. It is pure in a way that the production and the verses are nurturing to the soul. Jarobi White, who has been called the glue of the crew and plays the background, laces a few tracks with rhymes no one was expecting and, son got skills yo! Andre 3000, Kendrick Lamar, Busta Rhymes, Consequence, Talib Kweli, Jack White, Anderson Paak, Elton John and Kanye West add their voices to the project. As diverse as this guest list is, you never get the sense that this is not a Tribe album. The track “Mobius” featuring Consequence and Busta Rhymes has no original Tribe members on it but it still feels like Tribe.
It’s refreshing to hear real voices with annunciation, definition and substance. All tracks are produced by Tribe as a unit. This is fitting being that this is their sixth and final studio album that includes all of their original members. “Lost Somebody” is an ode to Phife and celebrates his life as Q-Tip and Jarobi lament over their relationship with their brother. Q-Tip and Phife’s issues were very public and on some level caused the group to break up. Q-Tip admits to being overbearing and appreciates the fact that they were always honest with each other and never pretended.
We Got It From Here … Thank You 4 Your Service triggers an emotion that seems to have been untapped in rap music as of late. Knowing that Phife is no longer with us and the status that Tribe holds in the world of hip hop makes this album more meaningful. Hip hop heads are rejoicing all around the world right now because Tribe delivered a classic right on time.
Watch Tribe performance on SNL here.