On Friday (November 11), A Tribe Called Quest will release their sixth and final album, We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service. The album will mark their first full-length delivery since The Love Movement in 1998. While none of the LP's 16 tracks were released prior to the album drop, fans have been understandably giddy about the names attached to the project, which include Kendrick Lamar and André 3000.
Given the political tone of the track list, and on the heels of Donald Trump winning the White House, does the album now take on even greater significance? What will this final album mean for the group's legacy? And is ATCQ the best rap ensemble of all-time?
1. The track list for We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your serviceappears to be politically motivated. Given the end result of the presidential race, does the album now take on a greater significance?
Brendan Varan: Given the punch to the gut that was the end result of the presidential race, I feel everything politically motivated takes on a much greater significance.
Yoh: Art can not overthrow regimes, art is incapable of bringing justice, and art can not protect us from whatever evils are to come. What art can do is encourage and revitalize those that can overthrow regimes, it can inspire the fighters of justice to keep fighting, and it can bring us solace and comfort during our darkest days and dimmest nights. Tribe’s album could not come at a better time.
Jake Paine: A Tribe Called Quest has an incredible knack for showing us our true selves and leading us where we need to go. They noticeably did this with The Low End Theory and The Love Movement. I anticipate that Quest will have insightful pathways in and out of this period, even if by mere interpretation. This will be an album that I also predict will be a touchstone to this time in America, just as Jay Z's Blueprint was with 9/11, or "Deep Cover" was with the L.A. riots.
2. The last Tribe album, The Love Movement, was released 18 years ago. What will this final album mean for the group's legacy?
Brendan: As one of the most revered groups of all time in all of music, Tribe’s legacy has been cemented for years. While I’m expecting a very strong album—which would certainly be the cherry on top of Tribe’s illustrious history—I don’t necessarily think a weaker project would take away from what they’ve already accomplished. What I’m most interested in is how this album will resonate with younger listeners, who, like myself, listened to all their classic albums through a historical lens. Will it be able to connect with an even younger generation than my own, who isn’t really familiar with Tribe’s music and only knows them for the respect they have amongst hip-hop heads who know better?
Yoh: Tribe has nothing left to prove, their legacy was solidified many years ago. For many rap fans, this Tribe album is an unexpected gift that will be cherished as a final goodbye from one of rap of hip-hop’s most important groups. What We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service can accomplish is bringing Tribe to the forefront of new listeners, an introduction to the new school.
Jake: While it was an illuminating film, I believe that the Beats, Rhymes, and Life documentary felt like the voyeuristic last word on the history of a truly iconic band. People don't remember the more recent anniversary reissues or reunion concerts like they do the drama. Before we ever get to press play, We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service is a group showing and proving just how strong their love and commitment to one another truly is. Right with that, it has obvious pedigree and potential to be another hallmark LP.
3. Is A Tribe Called Quest the best rap ensemble of all-time? If not, who's the best?
Brendan: Rich Gang, obviously. Nah, but on a real note, Tribe was massively influential on my own personal music tastes and the moment I first heard Q-Tip’s voice on “Check The Rhime” marks a defining moment in my life as a music lover, so I’m hard pressed to not give them the crown. Assuming “ensemble" doesn’t include duos (OutKast…), I’ll give it to Tribe, though I feel really bad leaving Run-D.M.C., Wu-Tang, and De La Soul out of the top spot.
Yoh: I’m personally partial to The Roots, but I’m well aware they wouldn’t exist without A Tribe Called Quest. A lot of our favorite rappers and groups wouldn’t, and for that reason alone they have to be mentioned as one of the most important if not the best.
Jake: From a historic standpoint, I think A Tribe Called Quest and their label-mates OutKast have both proven to originate, innovate, and artistically dictate where the sound of hip-hop goes, album to album, in multiple decades, on the highest level. Both have at least three albums that could be argued. That said, so does De La Soul... who will forever be my subjective choice.
By DJ Z, who loves to argue with you on Twitter.
Photo Credits: Instagram