The Vermont Cynic

Rap trio makes triumphant return


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Every ‘90s-loving hipster’s favorite rap group is back.

After an 18-year hiatus, A Tribe Called Quest returned Nov. 11 with their sixth and supposedly final album, “We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service.”

Following the death of group emcee Phife Dawg in March, the album, which has been in the works for over a year prior to its release, serves as a fitting farewell from one of the most influential acts of hip-hop’s golden age.

tribe_colorIt’s not easy to take a break as long as they have and come back without losing a step or two, but somehow Tribe manages to return just as good, if not better, than before.

Everything about the album, from its colorful and cartoony artwork to its genre-bending beats to its wide-ranged honest subject matter matches what fans of all ages have come to know and love.

“We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service” is notable for its long list of featured artists, including verses from long time collaborators Consequence and Busta Rhymes, as well as first-time collaborations with equally legendary artists Jack White, Andre 3000, Elton John, Kanye West, Talib Kweli and contributions from rising stars Kendrick Lamar and Anderson Paak.

Released just three days after Donald Trump’s election, “We got it from Here” is poignantly political with tracks like “We the People…,” “The Space Program,” “Whateva Will Be,” “Conrad Tokyo”  and “The Killing Season.”

However, the album’s outro, “The Donald,” is surprisingly not political and its title is a tribute to the late Phife Dawg, who also went by the nickname Don Juice. This is one of two songs dedicated to the deceased emcee, the other being  “Lost Somebody.” Phife Dawg died in March.

While much of the album tackles serious subject matter, like race, politics and the trials and tribulations of the music industry, it does have its fun moments, like the Q-Tip and Andre 3000 duet “Kids…” and the Busta Rhymes-assisted “Dis Generation,” which samples Musical Youth’s hit “Pass the Dutchie.”

On this track, Q-Tip mentions Kendrick Lamar, Earl Sweatshirt, J. Cole and Joey Bada$$ as “gatekeepers of flow,” keeping the old school hip-hop spirit alive.

“We got it from Here … Thank You 4 Your Service” is surprisingly on par with everything else released by Tribe. It serves as a perfect finale for a legendary group, leaving fans with a sense of satisfaction. 

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Rap trio makes triumphant return