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Generation X has been blessed with the sacred pleasure of watching a full episode of People’s Instinctive Travels and Paths of Rhythm unfold, the banner upon which one of hip hop’s greatest acts were able to offer its own brand of philosophy during the era of realism. A Tribe Called Quest has journeyed through the stormy weather of criticism and life’s adversities in order to preserve the true elements of a diminishing culture in the same spirit as the theme for The Book of Eli.
A group known for the creation of classics like, The Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders, has returned with a new album, eighteen years since the release of their last LP, The Love Movement. A Tribe Called Quest is back! Don’t call it a comeback, but the resolution of unfinished business.
When I first heard Tribe’s new album, entitled, We Got It From Here … Thank You 4 Your Service, I felt like crying because I remembered how ingenious rap music was in the 80’s and 90’s, and the culture of hip hop, long before it was replaced by the internet. The haziness of Tribe’s latest release puts it into a dimension of its own. Back in the days, we listened to Tribe because we appreciated the warmth of the production, which was a science itself. We were enchanted by Q-tip’s abstract lyricism, Phife Dawg’s wittiness, Ali Shaheed Muhammad’s efforts as a deejay/producer, and the mysteriousness of Jarobi White. Not only does We Got It From Here sound like the answer to a corrupt music industry, but is quite nostalgic in its approach.
The album opens up with a rocketship of a track called The Space Program. It is quite enjoyable to listen to and functions as the perfect leadoff hitter for what is about to come next. We the People is a killer track and the time machine that screams A Tribe Called Quest’s postmodern day masterpiece. “Oh My God!” In some ways the track seems to cover the theme of the album, touching on minority life in a capitalistic America that has become a Constitutional Judas Iscariot.
The album features guest appearances from André 3000, Kendrick Lamar, Jack White, Elton John, Kanye West, Anderson Paak, Talib Kweli, and the group’s most frequent collaborators Consequence and Busta Rhymes. Everyone holds their own on a battlefield of an album that has more hits than misses. Tracks like Melatonin, Kids, Mobius, and Dis Generation are just a few of the jewels pressed against the gold wall that will have you kissing the ground in renunciation of atheism. The album seems to carry a hint of a shamanistic endeavor by Phife Dawg, who passed physical form on March 22nd 2016. “We Got It From Here….Thank For Your Service” was Phife Dawg’s revelation that this album was the perfect emotional tool to help him gain the energy he needed for a marvelous afterlife. Congratulations!