A Tribe Called Quest albums

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2016

We Got It from Here…Thank You 4 Your Service (4.5 / 5)

               Most reunion albums from decade’s old acts fall flat on their face, which makes Tribe’s so much more triumphant. A sprawling 16 song album that contains about 20 years’ worth of ideas, it’s really solid for such a long record. Some of the samples used this time around are a little more pop culture oriented, from Willy Wonka at the end of “The Space Program” or Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets” in “Solid Wall of Sound”, even sampling samples that have already been sampled : Musical Youth on “Dis Generation” channeling Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet.

               All of this reminds us that Tribe were very much originals when it came to the start of sampling back in the early 80’s. Some songs really evolve and change halfway through: super moody “Melatonin”, while other deepen the jazz rap of old, especially “Enough!!” which is my favorite song on here and a great example of a dark love song only Q-Tip can produce. Phife Dog is missed as he had passed away by the time the album came out, but from the vocal examples he was able to leave his mastery of reggae is amazing still as exemplified by “Black Spasmodic” and “Solid Wall of Sound”. “Lost Somebody” is Q-tip and the groups homage to their fallen comrade, and it may cause some tears among hardcore fans, sampling the band Can’s “Halleluhwah”.

               Merging new and old guest MC’s reminding us why they are called a Tribe, Kendrick Lamar, Busta Rhymes, Anderson Paak, Talib Kweli and many more. Album ends with 2 of the best songs, the punching “Ego” where Q-Tip evaluates himself like few rappers do, and “The Donald” a commentary on the current political climate and a great posse track a la the classic of old “Scenario”. I wonder what people think of in the 2010’s if this is their first A Tribe Called Quest Record….I can only imagine they would wanna go check out Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders for the first time, and I’m kinda jealous of that newness.

Best Songs: Enough!!, Ego, Melatonin, Black Spasmodic