We Got it From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service is the latest and final album from A Tribe Called Quest. Released 18 years after the group’s last record and months after the death of mercurial MC Phife Dawg, We Got if From Here is an outstanding record. For longtime Tribe fans, it’s a reminder of how excellent they were. For newcomers, it’s a great introduction to Tribe’s brand of thoughtful, layered, and catchy hip-hop. Here are some random thoughts on We Got it From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service.
It’s Topical — We Got it From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service is a politically and socially charged album. It seems somewhat prescient, given America’s current climate. The group obviously had no idea that Donald Trump would be elected President of the United States when the record was being made. While America’s divide existed during the songwriting and recording of the album, the election cycle turned it up to 11. Whether you think it was by chance or by design, the songs seem more powerful with how disharmonious America is at the moment.
It’s An Album! — Starting with Napster, digital music has become more and more prevalent. Record companies pushing digital singles over physical albums has helped. Young people using YouTube as their primary music source has added to the trend too. We Got it From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service is an album. It tells a story using two sides of a “record,” with songs that were meant to be listened to in a certain order.
I’ve dated girls too young to understand the concept of an album. There are many young people that don’t understand the concept of an album. As someone that grew up listening to music this way, it feels cool, but foreign. I can’t imagine what it’s like to younger people.
Jarobi Rocks! — I’ve always enjoyed Jarobi White. The on-again-off-again member of the group doesn’t have many verses in my favorite Tribe songs, but he always made me laugh in the videos. He also seems like a cool cat in the outstanding documentary on A Tribe Called Quest. Phife’s death obviously left a big hole to fill and Jarobi stepped in to kick the hole’s ass. I had no idea he could be this good.
Old Friends, New Friends — It wouldn’t be A Tribe Called Quest record without cool cameos. Longtime guests Busta Rhymes and Consequence (Q-Tip’s cousin, btw) make appearances, as expected. We Got it From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service also has contributions from Elton John, Kanye West, Andre 3000, Kendrick Lamar, Talib Kweli, and more. It’s pretty frickin’ cool, though as a fan of the Native Tongues days, I was hoping for more De La Soul collaborations.
Comfort Music — There’s just something comforting about new music from A Tribe Called Quest. They’re my favorite hip-hop act ever, but they’re also from my favorite period of hip-hop. Tribe, De La Soul, Digable Planets, etc. gave the world some thoughtful, jazz-infused hip-hop. The music was fantastic, but the examination an introspection behind the music was arguably more impressive. We Got it From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service reminds me of those days. The songs are smart, the sample blends are amazing, the hooks are catchy, and you can tell a lot of thought went into each track. I love this style of hip-hop.
Bottom Line — Go out and buy this record. It’s great.