When A Tribe Called Quest reunited to perform on The Tonight Show last fall, the group — Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Jarobi White, and Phife Dawg — couldn’t know what 2016 would bring. They were pioneers returned from hip-hop’s golden age, but not prophets. They couldn’t see Donald Trump taking the White House. They couldn’t see the rise of the alt-rightas a significant corner of the electorate. And no one could foresee the personal tragedy the group would face: Phife Dawg’s too-soon death from diabetes.
One year later, we have President-elect Trump and an ascendent alt-right, but we also have We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service, ATCQ’s first album in 18 years and also its last. It’s an album that celebrates the group’s past and looks consciously towards to future. It also honors the memory of Phife Dawg himself, who gave the record its title. But most of all, it’s a powerful protest album from start to finish, whose force is only heightened by the result of this past Election Day.
THERE CAN BE NO MOVING TO THE STARS FOR THE DISENFRANCHISED OR THE IMPRISONED
Honestly, what else could an album be when its first track, “The Space Program,” laments there being “no space program for niggas?”