We Got It From Here. Thank You 4 Your Service
A Tribe Called Quest
This is the first album in 18 years to feature all four founding members of ATCQ: Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi. Phife, who called himself the “Funky Diabetic”, died in March from the disease and this record caps one of hip-hop’s most storied runs. The Phifer’s jovial wordplay and the track dedications to his life are the heart of the record and the trini gladiator stays grounded to the end: “I take zero for granted, I honour my gift.” Band leader Q-Tip is still the Abstract Poetic, while even Jarobi steps to the mic, emitting a confident Native Tongue flair. Longtime cohorts Consequence and a Rastafarian Busta Rhymes also shine. Other stars turn out in force, with André 3000 a high point and Kendrick Lamar hot on his coattails. Musically, their theories continue to favour the low end as they burrow paths of rhythm – and they still got the jazz, embedding vibrant chord structures in the forward push. It’s a feel-good record but politics and race still loom large, the opener directing that “it’s time to go left and not right”. We Got It From Here is about a new day, unbridled expression, cutting through disillusion and healing – but most of all flexing their inimitable vibe.
* Jake O’Connell / AP