The album has been in the making for the last 18 years. What’s more, eight months prior to the new release, the group lost one of its founding members. If you have not already guessed, A Tribe Called Quest will drop its first post-Phife Dawg (Nov. 20, 1970 – Mar. 22, 2016) collection on Nov. 18. Titled, We Got it from Here…Thank You 4 Your Service, co-founding member Q-Tip has suggested the project probably will be the group’s last. But there is so much more to say about this classic East Coast vibe.
ATCQ recruited some heavy hitters for its latest effort, including Busta Rhymes, Andre 3000, Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar. The Queens-based rappers also enlisted veteran British rocker Elton John and “Seven Nation Army” maestro Jack White on the recording. If ATCQ was aiming to retain that vintage hip hop sound while simultaneously cutting a contemporary groove, most enthusiasts would agree they have succeeded and then some.
Right off the bat, the opening track, “Space Program,” cranks out a 90s pulse with a modern clarity, timing and overall production value you would not have heard 25 years ago. “We The People” has a strong political narrative and matching lyrics, though not quite as potent as Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power.” The 3:03 “Black Spasmodic” moves with a reggae-ish tempo, while “Lost Somebody” makes for a more sophisticated De La Soul-ish listen. Song number seven, “Melatonin,” is honest, real and faithfully righteous. You’ll have to check it out and judge for yourself. Tribe even has included an original called “The Donald.” No doubt, We Got it from Here…Thank You 4 Your Service will quench the thirst of any ATCQ aficionado. Let’s just hope this is not its last.
Photo: A Tribe Called Quest perform in 2009 – Chalice L./Creative Commons (CC); usage does not constitute endorsement; Video – Channel55/YouTube.