A Tribe Called Quest’s last album We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service basically came out of nowhere.  There was news in August that this album existed and suddenly Q-Tip showed up in October saying the album was going to be out in two weeks.  WHAT?!!?!??

The album dropped with “two sides” and 16 songs total.  The group’s fourth member Jarobi White finally was aboard to rap on some tracks and he sounded great alongside Phife and Q-Tip.  The death of Phife is felt.  He’s here.  He raps.  But he’s not on as many songs as you’d think.  Obviously his death came at perhaps not even the midway point of finishing the album.  And while you can listen to every Tribe album and not find him on each track, this is the second least you’ll find him on an album (he is near non-existent on Tribe’s first album People’s Instinctive Travels).  Also missing is a Phife solo song which you would usually find on each Tribe album.

The new album sounds very different.  I call it the spiritual successor to Q-Tip’s solo album Kamaal the Abstract while also being Tribe’s White Album.  There are a lot of different sounds here.  I find that “Side A” works a lot more than the music on “Side B” but overall the album is fantastic.  It’s new Tribe music – it is almost like it shouldn’t exist.  And here it is.  And it is amazing.

Tribe collaborators Consequence and Busta Rhymes are around on multiple tracks which is nice.   Andre 3000 rhymes with Q-Tip on the song Kids but even though they have a nice message with that song it is hampered by some god awful music.  Talib Kweli is decent.  Kendrick Lamar I just don’t get him.  Kanye SINGS here without a vocoder (or whatever the fuck he uses to sing) and actually sounds good.  I wasn’t crazy about Anderson.Paak at first but his singing rap really grew on me.  Jack White adds a ton of sounds to this album and that is a great thing.

This album is good.  Really good.  Especially the first disc.  It gets in your head.  It really makes you wish that this wasn’t the end.  It’s a shame that it took them this long to get off their asses and do another album.  It really almost just pisses me off.

It would be easy to say I’m biased because I’ve always been such a huge Tribe fan but honestly if they would have put out a piece of shit all these years later I would have called it such.  All these years later the guys gave us a swan song and it is an album that I will listen to over and over for many years to come.  Is it as good as Tribe’s classics Midnight Marauders or The Low End Theory?  I’d say no.  But is it better than the other three albums?  Absolutely.  It is an amazing rebound from The Love Movement.

Do I think Tribe could continue?  Kind of.  I do think Q, Jarobi, Ali joined by Busta and Cons could continue as … ‘A Tribe Called Life’ or something like that.  I have more and more thoughts on that subject that I’ll save for another time.