Tribe’s Final Quest

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Abby Preece, A&E Writer

With their nostalgic B-boy style of hip hop, A Tribe Called Quest is rightfully considered the pioneers of a new music generation. Since their start in 1985, Quest has come out with many hits, and while the group may be before the new generation of hip hop lovers’ time, iconic tracks like “Scenario” are recognizable to any rap fan familiar with the rap scene of the 90s. Twenty years after their last #1 album, A Tribe Called Quest made their final contribution to the music scene they helped create, with their final studio album We Got it From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service.

The album helped A Tribe Called Quest set the record for the longest span of #1 albums by a hip hop artist, beating the likes of Nas, Kanye, and the Beastie Boys. Aside from the numbers and the praise those digits bring, many people, both fans and strangers to their music, were skeptical of Quest’s comeback. With the expectation that old artists trying to return in a new and constantly evolving music scene rarely succeed, the relevance of the album was a shock.

Throughout We Got it From Here, without ditching their signature style, they managed to craft eight tracks that cater to both the die-hards and the newcomers. The group proved the importance of the album in current music through the topics covered in the lyrics. From the opening track The Space Program to the closing track The Donald, the album is evidently filled with political undertones.

After the fifth time the album played on loop, for me the second song “We The People” stood out among the rest. In a time where segregation seems to be on the rise, Quest aimed to express that old school message of unity. Lines that highlighted Trump’s fondness for deportation, and the prejudice towards minorities such as Muslims, the LGBTQ+ community, and those in poverty, broadcast the message that the music was for anyone, that this is something that can bring people together on a divided time.

The groups’ own Q-Tip told Beats 1 Radio, “We are trying to bring awareness and truth to people […] It’s not about separating or ageism. That’s what they want us to do, to cause division between us so that it will be easier to swallow. But this music is a unifying music.”

Previously, Quest even joked that they predicted Trump’s presidency with the song The Donald. Not too far fetched of an idea, considering the “We The People” music video unknowingly mirrored the protests that arose in the wake of the presidential election. Also shown in the video was a mural of Phife Dawg, a beloved member of Quest who passed away March 22nd , while the album was still in the works. The production of the album continued, and the loss of Phife Dawg only inspired the other members to put even more of their heart and soul into their music. Q-Tip himself said that Phife Dawg wanted this more than anything.

With that incentive to make something worthy of the friend they lost, the group managed to release an album that succeeded in modern music, without conforming to every trend and common theme nowadays. The album was without a doubt A Tribe Called Quest’s album; they did not have to dumb down their music and conform to a mainstream style for it to be successful. Unlike some other attempted comebacks from old artists, it is easy to see that they were aiming for meaning and quality, not just commercial success. From lyrics to visual, the album is deserving of the high praise it received, and was a phenomenal end to a phenomenal career.