A Tribe Called Quest releases final album memorializing Phife Dawg


Last year on Nov. 13, A Tribe Called Quest members Q-Tip, Jarobi, Ali and Phife performed on the Tonight Show together. It was their first TV performance in 18 years. This performance sparked what Q-Tip called “an energy that we hadn’t experienced on stage together in some time” and a mutual desire to “get back to the studio and start that cookup!” This year on Nov. 11, the group released their new and final album titled “We Got It From Here… Thank you 4 Your Service” through Epic Records.  
In a letter to fans via Instagram, regarding the release of the album in the midst of the passing of tribe-member Phife Dawg aka Malik Taylor, Q-Tip informed,
“It was coming together nicely and as you may know we lost our BROTHER may GOD REST HIS SOUL on March 22. But he left us with the BluePrint of what we had to do. So we collected ourselves and along tribesmen, BUSTA and CONS… we completed what will be, obviously the final A Tribe Called Quest album.”
The album is a beautiful composite work featuring every sound Tribe fans want to hear. The 90s head-bobbing groove hits the listener just as it did when the group broke out those lackadaisical yet sharp dance moves in the “Can I Kick it” video. Jazzy and unexpected samples come through as well as social and political statements that have kept up with the times.
The song “We the People” happened to apply to “[the] current political climate” the group revealed to Vanity Fair Magazine. Speaking through quick, passionate bars about an America that might not represent minorities and women.
“Yo, funny thing is, we wrote a lot about Trump, about what’s going on, kind of foretelling this shit. Especially Phife . . . he had a crystal ball or some shit,” Jarobi told Vanity Fair Magazine.
“The fog and the smog of news media that logs /False narratives of Gods that came up against the odds /We’re not just nigga rappers with the bars /It’s kismet and we’re cosmic with the stars,” the bridge by Phife and Q-Tip states.
Tribe proves to be an extremely talented group in their flawless ability to bring different forms of music together harmoniously. The song “Solid Wall of Sound” is the perfect example of this. Including samples from Elton John’s, “Benny and the Jets.” The entirety of the song grooves along to that slow Elton beat.
Throughout the album, the group bridges the gap between different musical genres and exemplifies the very original, classic Tribe Called Quest sound that is unique yet unified. With two parts, eight songs on each, different styles of music are explored. The group attributes inspiration from very different atmospheres, from Queen to Kendrick Lamar.
Lamar is featured on the song “Conrad Tokyo,” a song that once more touches on current politics and expresses Phife’s views.
“Trump and SNL hilarity /Troublesome times kid, no times for comedy,” raps Phife before Kendrick’s feature.
“Fumigate our economy, ‘illuminate broken dreams / And manifest all insanity, look around /Sayonara tomorrow, it’s just blood on the ground” Lamar raps.
For anyone that hoped for a song on this album to be entirely dedicated to Phife Dawg, the song “The Donald” is just this.
“Phife Dawg, you spit wicked every verse,” raps Busta Rhymes.
This album will remain a legacy in the world of music and hip-hop, with verses and musical contribution from André 3000, Kendrick Lamar, Jack White, Elton John, Anderson Paak, Talib Kweli from Black Star, Consequence, Busta Rhymes, and unexpectedly, Kanye West.
Although Phife Dawg passed away just a few months before the release, he will live on in the Tribe Called Quest’s music for generations to come, including this closing album that he himself titled.