Alec Reviews Music: A Tribe Called Quest release sixth and final album after death of band member

Alec Erickson

For 30 years now there has been a name that has become synonymous with hip-hop and rap, and that name is A Tribe Called Quest. The trio have been on and off for the last three decades, but with every album, they have produced some game changing and must have songs. Whether or not you are an avid fan, there is no denying the influence they have had on the scene now. That is why when they announced their sixth and final album, it was all the more special. Now we finally have “We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service.”

What makes the release of this final album all the more special for the New York based group, is that earlier this year MC Phife Dog passed away. With many of his parts were still kept in the record, it is something else entirely to hear him on some new music. MC’s Jarobi White and Q-Tip are still keeping their vocals fresh and well mixed. Then there are all the features on this record that are huge, everyone from Kanye West, Jack White, Elton John, Kendrick Lamar and even Busta Rhymes all had a hand in this record. “We got it from Here…” is a star studded and chill record.

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“We got it from Here…” is a 16-track record split up into two discs. In total, the whole record clocks out to be just over an hour long. From front to back it is a chilled out and clean record. With some of the cleanest mixing and some great vocals, it is clear to see why A Tribe Called Quest have been doing so well for so long now. You can easily hear influences from past records like “Midnight Marauders” or “The Low End Theory” but it is still providing new elements to keep it different enough. It is not completely the same, and for some if you have not listened to A Tribe Called Quest in years, it might sound like the same act as before, there is just more on the technical side of things that are keeping things fresh. It may have been 18 years since their last record, but do not let that fool you.

Musically, expect some slow tempo and chill beats. The main thing here is that the music is more of a supporting role to the actual vocals, nothing complex either. In fact, most of these beats are so memorable and catchy before you know it, you are nodding along to the beat of the music. Drums are the main driving force for each track, and for good reason. DJ and Producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad has always been influenced R&B and Soul music. That is why you see keyboards come in to support the drums. From tracks like “Melatonin,” “Mobius” or “Lost Somebody,” you can see the range that just two instruments can have when it comes to rap songs. On a technical level, they are just really well done.

Lyrically, we see a lot of influences from tragedies like the Paris Attacks to hate crimes and violence. This is a record that is more about spreading the love and awareness than hate and anger, which, in recent times, is needed now a lot more than ever. This is why all of Phife Dogs contributions were kept in. From tracks like “The Space Program” to “The Donald,” we see just how much what is happening in the world influences this record. That is why “We got it from Here…” is much more of a reflection than it is a statement. Either way, the vocals are the main driving force for the entire record, which is why you do not see many choruses, if really any.

Should you listen to it?: Yes

A Tribe Called Quest have been so influential in the past three decades. Everything they did in the `90s is still considered to be some of the greatest contributions to the scene. “We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service” is the closest thing to those records. It is a must have for any fan of rap and hip-hop, especially considering this is the last record they will ever put out after Phife Dog’s passing. This is a special record that is needed at such a trying time.