After an 18 year hiatus, A Tribe Called Quest is back with We Got it From Here. The album has two over-arching themes: the U.S. presidential campaign and the loss of group member Phife Dawg, who passed away earlier this year.
Recorded well before the elections, the album nonetheless provides a spot-on glimpse into the powers that be and a campaign of intolerance and hatred. It also serves to honor Phife Dawg, whose absence is noticeable, with tributes and nods throughout.
Despite the 18 year lag, Tribe demonstrates that it’s very much a part of today’s rap scene, and will forever stand as foundational acts for the current crop of rappers. As Rolling Stone reports:
“It’s important to check the vibe throughout. Entire books can be written about how the sound, identity, location, phrasing, technical innards and even purpose of rap music has changed since A Tribe Called Quest’s last album, The Love Movement, in 1998. But Tribe, in both delivery and content, maintain the attitude of the Bohemian everydude funkonauts that inspired Kanye West, Andre 3000 and Kendrick Lamar (who all appear here).”