Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Tribe Called Quest - We Got It From Here...Thank You 4 Your Service



You can call it blasphemy waveriders.  I won't argue when you level that particular accusation.  Back in October of 2016 when I learned that there would be a new A Tribe Called Quest album, and that said album would be released less than one month later well, let's just say that I wasn't very optimistic about what we would be getting.  Being A Tribe Called Quest fan there was never a question about whether or not I would be buying the album.  I picked up my copy on the day of release, but I was dealing with conflicting information and emotions.

On the one hand I have my deeply ingrained reverence for ATCQ.  I love their first three albums, especially Low End Theory, and have listened to them countless times.  The musical blend of mellow yet unremitting jazzy grooves coupled with the unique and tenacious vocal deliveries of Q-Tip and Phife Dawg easily help the group stand out from their peers.  In fact, if you play their music at any friendly get together right now they still have the power to turn heads.  You'll be answering the question, "Who is this?" multiple times, guaranteed.

The problem arrives when you consider the group's history.  The dysfunction of ATCQ is well documented.  Anyone out there who hasn't watched the documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest should rectify that grievous oversight immediately.  The movie is amazing and amazingly revealing.  Long story short it had been eight long years since ATCQ had released an album, and frankly, due to the animosity between Q-Tip and Phife Dawg I didn't believe the group could work well enough together to release anything worthwhile.  Also there was the unavoidable fact that Phife Dawg had recently passed away due to complications relating to diabetes, so my mind jumped to the conclusion that this album was being rushed to market.

Have I mentioned that it's nice to be wrong every now and again?  Goodness gracious me!  We Got It From Here...Thank You 4 Your Service is stunning!  Absolutely stunning!  All of my concerns evaporated less than a minute into album opener "The Space Program", replaced by a cautious optimism.  "We The People..." and "Whateva Will Be" took my cautious optimism and proceeded to build it into a tidal wave of joy!  As the album progressed I couldn't believe my ears.  This was exactly what I wanted to hear!  Q-Tip and Phife Dawg each have strong verses.  The production is flawless and hearkens back to their classic work.  The guest features are incredible! 

Waveriders, We Got It From Here...Thank You 4 Your Service is the real deal.  Any self respecting hip-hop fan needs a copy of this surprisingly marvelous album.  Actually that's wrong.  This album isn't only for hip-hop fans.  ATCQ have produced an album for all fans of good music.  End of story.

-Penfold


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