A Tribe Called Quest Release Final Album After 18 Years

After 18 years, fans are finally getting the final A Tribe Called Quest Album they deserve.

With the untimely death of member Phife Dawg earlier this year, the hope for a new A Tribe Called Quest album seemed to be out of the question until a recent announcement by Q-Tip.

On October 27, Kamaal Ibn John Fareed–known professionally as Q-Tip–posted on his Instagram account an announcement regarding the status of the group’s sixth and final album, to the surprise of many fans. Tip wrote about their performance on the Tonight Show and also the need they felt they had to give fans new music.

Tip’s post also mentions the late Malik Izaak “Phife Dawg” Taylor who passed away unexpectedly earlier this year from complications due to his diabetes–an ever-present mention in his verses–on March 22. The new album, Tip writes, will feature all original verses by the group’s members–also adding that they have also recruited old friends to aid the album for its November 11 release. The album name comes from Phife Dawg, but the members don’t quite know why it was named as such. It’s a topic that will forever remain a mystery.

When’s the last time you heard a funky diabetic? – Phife Dawg in “Oh My God”

Image via NYT | Al Pereira/Michael Ochs Archives, via Getty Images

All hands on deck

After the announcement, more information regarding the album was released, including purported collaborations–later to be confirmed with the tracklist. Early Wednesday, another hip-hop great Talib Kweli posted an image on his Instagram account of the confirmed personnel who had a hand in creating We Got It From Here, Thank You 4 Your Service.

The album’s tracklist was released and confirmed by the Tribe on Wednesday after it appeared on iTunes. It’s divided into two 8-track CDs:

  1. The Space Program
  2. We The People…
  3. Whateva Will Be
  4. Solid Wall of Sound
  5. Dis Generation
  6. Kids…
  7. Melatonin
  8. Enough!!
  1. Mobius
  2. Black Spasmodic
  3. The Killing Season
  4. Lost Somebody
  5. Movin’ Backwards
  6. Conrad Tokyo
  7. Ego
  8. The Donald

The sound you remember

The album brings back the sound fans remember from old-school Tribe and reinvents the sound while modernizing their lyrics. Mentions of current events are prevalent throughout the album and that solidifies the notion that this album isn’t recycling and old, unreleased verses and they have been working hard on this project. As an added bonus, fans get a rare verse from AndrĂ© 3000. Also featured on the album are frequent collaborators Busta Rhymes and Consequence, along with others such as Kendrick Lamar, Anderson .Paak and Jack White, among others.

The elections have everyone at the edge of their seat and with a closing track titled “The Donald,” only one thing will pop up in the heads of the many who listen to the album. “The Donald” is actually a song dedicated to Phife Dawg who had another nickname, “Don Juice.” A name that is prevalent throughout the chorus of the track.

Busta Rhymes got one of his biggest breaks into music by way of a Tribe song. In 1992, Busta Rhymes’ group was featured on “Scenario,” shooting Busta into the public eye. The group ended up splitting, but Busta continued to make waves on his own, including another Tribe feature on “Oh My God” in 1994.

Some of the standout tracks include “Enough,” “The Killing Season” and “Kids,” the latter featuring AndrĂ© 3000. “Enough” samples a small part of one of the group’s standout tracks, “Bonita Applebum.”

This is it

The album is the sixth and final for the group and serves as the completion of their contractual obligations with Jive Records. With the completion of their contract, the group can now celebrate their legacy and the life of their former group member with the feeling of closure.

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In addition to the long-awaited release of the album, this Saturday, November 12, the Tribe will be featured as the musical guest of Saturday Night Light. The show will be hosted by the legendary comedian Dave Chappelle. Will he actually show up?

Hensley Carrasco
Hensley graduated from the University of Rhode Island where he was the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, the Good 5 Cent Cigar. He founded the site with hopes to add to the ever-growing digital music newsroom. Hensley generally writes about Hip-Hop, but other genres are not out of his writing spectrum. On the side, Hensley is a photographer, specializing in concert photography.

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