Review: A Tribe Called Quest - We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service

You on point, Phife?

A Tribe Called Quest - We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service

Hip-hop comebacks are tricky. Jock the latest trend, and you'll run the risk of being clowned. Hold onto nostalgia, and you'll attract the dreaded "stuck in the past" label. So what's an old head to do?

With their first album since 1998, Q-Tip, the late Phife Dawg, Jarobi, and Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest have managed the Herculean task of staging a comeback that is sure to resonate with new fans and loyal followers alike.

"They’d rather lead us to the grayest water poison deadly smog/Mass un-blackening, it’s happening, you feel it y’all?"

We got it from Here... Thank You 4 Your service, the group's sixth and final album, captures a spirit of protest and optimism in equal measure. It opens with "The Space Program," a jazzy anthem for the forgotten. "Ain't no space program for n---as/Yo, you stuck here, ni--a," they tell us. The song is not about the space program; rather, it's a warning about the destruction of black bodies in America. Yet, the song closes with a hopeful clarion call: "Let's make something happen."

We got it from Here... is packed with substantive messages, but it doesn't always take itself too seriously. “The Killing Season” finds Consequence shining light on the mistreatment of America’s veterans, while also highlighting the horrors of police brutality. On the flip side, “Dis Generation” has Busta and Phife tapping into the Caribbean roots with flavorful patois.

It’s hard to overstate just how enjoyable We got it from Here is. You can throw this album on and do house chores without skipping a track. You can run a marathon to this. You can chill and vibe to it. You can party to it. It's both headphone-ready and speaker-ready.

"Talk to Joey, Earl, Kendrick, and Cole, gatekeepers of flow/They are extensions of instinctual soul"

The crew is on point. The beats knock. The guests (Kendrick Lamar, Talib Kweli, and Andre 3000) are all in post-season form. Native Tongues comrade Busta Rhymes sounds like a man revived. Consequence sounds like he’s auditioning for the 5th member of Tribe.

Of course, this wouldn’t be a Tribe album without the creative beds the group has been known for since they started slaying samples in the 90s. Tribe loyalists will be delighted to hear the excavating soul, pillowy sheen and spastic knock on this album.

Now who want it with the Trini gladiator?
Mid finger to you haters, you biters not innovators
I take zero for granted, I honors my gift
Champion pen game, plus I’m freestyle equipped
You clowns be bum sauce, speak my name, it’s curtains
Hamdulillāh, my crew’s back to workin'

Phife Dawg, who passed on earlier this year, is fully present with his biting wit. Jarobi is the sharpest he’s ever been. Tip’s wordplay shows the passion of a kid who just discovered his magic set and can’t wait to show everyone his next trick.

On “Spasmodic,” Tip relays a message from Phife Dawg: “I expect the best from you, I’m watching from my heaven view/Don’t disappoint me.”

Phife, consider your wishes granted.