[Album]: We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service
[Artist]: A Tribe Called Quest
Overall Grade/Rating: 9/10
Subject Matter: A-
Replay Value: A
Fav Songs: The Space Program, We The People, Solid Wall of Sound
Least Fav Songs: The Killing Season
Play or Nay: Play
Critique: A Tribe Called Quest sort of pulled a D’Angelo with Black Messiah this year. Meaning they snuck through at the last minute in 2016 and pretty much delivered what might be the best hip-hop album of 2016. And certainly one of the best albums of 2016, period. It’s been a couple of decades since we last heard from Tribe.
We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service came just days after the 2016 presidential election, when so many of us were upset and horrified at the results. We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service is able to touch a nerve, bringing up topics like gentrification, discrimination against the poor, discrimination in general and so much more. It literally arrived at just the right time, and since Donald Trump did win, the album is that much more important.
But they aren’t just touching on current events and politics. This was the last Tribe album that will feature Phife Dawg, who passed away earlier this year in March. Phife Dawg, born Malik Izaak Taylor, recorded his verses on the album before his death.
There are a couple of songs on the album, “Lost Somebody” and “The Donald,” dedicated to Phife. They’re beautifully written and crafted, sending the listener to the highest of emotions in the whole the album. “The Donald,” ending the album, is a bit more upbeat, with Busta showing up spitting the first verse with what sounds like an attempt at a Jamaican accent. A shout out to Phife’s effort to bring in the West Indian influences, perhaps. The song actually features what could be Phife’s best verse on the whole album.
And it is great to hear all four members of A Tribe Called Quest back in the studio together. It’s almost as if Q-Tip, Phife, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jabori White never left. The sound that made Tribe who they are can be felt all over this album. Coming back in 2016, they didn’t feel the need to switch their style up or do something different. Sometimes, the classics will do just fine. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
They brought some friends with them, too. The likes of Jack White, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Andre 3000, Elton John, Anderson .Paak, Talib Kweli as well as Busta Rhymes. Every feature on the album makes an impact. The way that they are used on the songs in which they appear is perfect. White’s guitar playing is nothing short of fantastic, which it always is.
In this way, this is the only “new” and modern aspect they’ve added to the album. Everything else is what Tribe has always done, and they do it so well. Andre 3000 is always a nice addition to any album, since he’s appeared on a number of projects throughout 2016. Elton John’s vocals on “Solid Wall of Sound” are pleasing to the ear, as well as just how that song was produced and arranged in general.
From the production, lyricism and flow, the album feels like they never missed a step. The album starts with “The Space Program,” and it’s like they just picked up from where they left off on Midnight Marauders and The Low End Theory. The song is a great re introduction and welcome back to the legendary hip-hop group. Probably the best and most infectious hook on the entire album can be found on the first track. And again, it strikes a chord politically and socially, illustrating the isolation Black people feel being stuck in a bad situation we can’t get out of.
The album is able to touch on serious and socially conscious topics, sex and love, the youth and everything Tribe has always talked about. A Tribe Called Quest are certainly wanting to end 2016 on a positive note, with everything else that’s going on.
What did you think of the album? Be sure to let us know in the comments down below.