The Daily Gamecock

Review: A Tribe Called Quest releases first album in 18 years

Album: “We got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your service”

Released: Nov. 11 

Label: Epic Records 

Rating: A

Nov. 11 marked the next step in a long discography from rap quartet A Tribe Called Quest. Its newest album, entitled “We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service,” signaled its first album since the release of “The Love Movement” in 1998. Since then, the group has changed tempo, lost and regained members and created shockwaves all the while.

After breaking up in 1998, speculators thought it would be the end of the group’s activity. And, in a sense, they were right. That is, until recently. Three of the four members had made various appearances on Kanye West’s YEEZUS tour, and many took this as a sign of future projects to come. However, Phife Dawg, one of the founding members of the hip-hop titan, died in March of this year, and many thought that such a tragedy signaled an end to any prospective comebacks. Almost in spite of this unexpectedness, the newest album was first announced in August, and managed to get quite a few people talking.

Before his death, Phife Dawg managed to assist in the creation of this album, and, as a token of the rest of the band’s admiration for such a talent, they finished the album under the label Epic Records. Phife Dawg was the one who gave the album its original working title, and it was kept until the album’s release.

It should be noted that “We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service” is a work of art, one that was both put on hold and piloted by all of the mishaps surrounding its creation. It clocks in at approximately an hour long over 16 songs, and features such notable greats as André 3000, Elton John, Jack White and Kendrick Lamar.

The record is split into two parts, each of them ultimately produced by Q-Tip, another founding member of the band. This works to separate each theme of the piece.

The first part, eight songs in total, makes stark commentary on the past and questions mistakes humanity has made. To build that scene, Q-Tip employs various techniques. For example, in “Solid Wall of Sound,” tunes and motifs from Elton John’s masterwork “Bennie and the Jets” are employed to really encompass the feeling of the '70s and '80s, through which such commentaries are voiced.

The second part also features eight tracks. But instead of questioning the past, the latter eight songs question where society is headed. Featuring songs like “The Killing Season” and “The Donald,” a distraught narrative is brought about. “The Killing Season,” featuring Kanye West, focuses on the trend of police brutality and black discrimination the United States has seen recently. “The Donald” finds its commentary in its very title. Measures such as these establish a platform for progressive rapping, and therefore it stands to reason that such a talented array of people would want to get on board.

Really, “We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service” serves as the fight song of a generation of adults disillusioned with how the country grew as they did. Overall, the album is as informative as it is entertaining. And by garnering such support as the other legends of the music business, the group showed their willingness to participate with one another to create something truly quite intriguing. The album earns a solid A.


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