A Tribe Called Quest might be one of the, if not the, most underrated rap groups to ever do it. They don’t get nearly enough credit for the immense influence and impact they’ve had on the music and the culture. I know I didn’t discover them until a little later in life when I was given an anthology of their best stuff and I was instantly hooked. It’s a testament to their timelessness that their work can still stand against anything coming out today, and it’s even more impressive that they’ve been able to leave such a substantial mark as they have with only 5 albums to their name. We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service had been rumored for nearly 20 years and it took the untimely death of Phife Dawg to seemingly make this a reality. It’s a bittersweet release; a long awaited project and a farewell from the legendary group.
“Leave us where we are so they can play among the stars
They taking off to Mars, got the space vessels overflowing
What, you think they want us there? All us niggas not going
Reputation ain’t glowing, reparations ain’t flowing
If you find yourself stuck in a creek, you better start rowing”
After almost 20 years away, what does a Tribe album even sound like? I had no idea. I knew Q-Tip was a legendary producer that’s always been wildly inventive, but surely he’s lost a step after all this time. Right? Well fucking wrong! We Got It From Here is an absolute tour de force and Tip lays some of his best work to date. It’s chock full of layered, intricate instrumentation, and sounds and grooves that defy description. It has a rough, analog charm to it that somehow manages to both be nostalgic and modern at the same time. I was floored by just how good everything sounded on here; there’s not a single skip-worthy song on the whole project. Q-Tip is an absolute legend and he just gave a master class in production.
“Trump and the SNL hilarity
Troublesome times kid, no times for comedy
Blood clot, you doing, bullshit you spewing
As if this country ain’t already ruined”
I’ve never felt like Tribe, with the exception of Phife Dawg, were the best lyricists out there, but it was made up for with their sharp social insights, directness, and their almost poetical delivery. The way they flow and tackle social topics is so effortless here, and they don’t hold anything back, going at these issues as direct as ever. They also have some fantastic guest features; from the suprise Jack White, the longtime collaborator Busta Rhymes, and new school Kendrick Lamar, they all add to every song they’re on and feel more extensions of the group than guest features. It’s absolutely amazing to hear Busta Rhymes and A Tribe Called Quest together again; it’s like peanut butter and chocolate. If there’s one word I could use to describe We Got It From Here, it’d be timely.
Have you heard We Got It From Here? What’d you think about it? Do you think they sound as good as they did before? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to leave your rating for the album.