There is no hip-hop lover on earth who can truthfully say they haven’t been touched by A Tribe Called Quest. They have been the quiet mainstay of hip-hop for decades and their sixth and final album,We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service, is a fitting end to our instinctive travels with this beloved group.
Throughout the record, Tribe manage to deliver an updated sound, yet retain the vintage charm that has come to distinguish them. The album starts off strong with “The Space Program,” a rousing anthem that draws a deep sigh of relief. Despite the 18-year gap between albums and the crushing blow of losing Phife Dawg in March, Tribe remain Tribe. So fans, unclench and enjoy the show.
The double-album is bursting with highlights like “Solid Wall of Sound,” on which Tribe and longtime collaborator Busta Rhymes playfully volley bars over a quirky reworking of Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets.” “Dis Generation” is a spirited passing of the torch; “Enough!!” is smooth, sensual and laced with Easter eggs for longtime fans; and “Conrad Tokyo” captures every drop of Tribe’s golden era charm. “We the People” is a timely and sharp-eyed critique of a world divided, and “Lost Somebody” is Phife’s mandatory yet refreshingly organic eulogy.
Though there are points on the album where the experimental production falls a little flat, the dense, witty lyrics throughout make up for any sonic shortcomings. And thankfully, Phife’s presence on the album is completely seamless. He shines on this final effort, and the care and attention that must have been required on the part of his group mates cannot be overlooked.
Overall, We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service proves that after all this time, A Tribe Called Quest can, in fact, still kick it. It’s a goodbye on a high note. Thank you for your service.