An album to remember Phife Dawg

Niklas A. Hegg, Staff Writer

An album to remember Phife Dawg

A Tribe Called Quest We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service Album Review


A Tribe Called Quest is among the most influential rap groups of all time. Through their revolutionary sounds and lyrics, they have captured audiences, so when one fan-favorite member, the infamous Phife Dawg, passed away in March 2016, it was not easy news to take. They had not put out an album since 1998, but luckily for fans, Phife Dawg recorded his last verses in time for a new 2016 A Tribe Called Quest album.

Here’s a review of my favorite tracks from A Tribe Called Quest first album in 18 years, We got it from here…

Thank You 4 Your service

The Space Program:

The first song off of Quest’s last album really starts it out with a bang. It gives you a feel for the classic rap group. It’s filled with samples, opening the song with a clip from the movie Willie Dynamite and ending with the late Gene Wilder himself from his infamous role in Willy & The Chocolate Factory. Q-Tip, Jarobi, and Phife Dawg all offer amazing verses for listeners in this track. The lyrics hit with hard realities of the life of black Americans. For me, this song is less about the meaning. The flow is absolutely amazing and the production is phenomenal as is usual with a ATCQ  track. However, you can’t help but feel inspired as the chorus goes on saying it’s time to come together. “Let’s make something happen.”

We The People…:

This track featuring Q-Tip and Phife Dawg, is one of the more revolutionary. The meaning is much more bold. The hook, at first, might surprise you, but that’s the point. The song’s verses are taken from the view of a homophobe and racist. It’s about the fear of color. The song tells all the blacks, Muslims, poor folks, and gays that they must go. But it’s obvious that Q-Tip and Phife Dawg don’t agree with this. They’re really just trying to speak against it with an added surprise factor. To bounce off of the hook, the verses offer points of view from the opposite perspective  saying that they’re left in the rear view. Q-Tip blows the roof off with the first verse giving an amazing groove, but, my favorite verse is from Phife on this one. It really makes you realize how much people are going to miss him. His lyrics hit hard. He offers a vision “of as word that’s equal for women, with no division.”

Solid Wall of Sound:

Again the song starts with a sample, this time from Benny and The Jets from the amazing Elton John. The song also has Q-Tip and Phife Dawg but also gives us a frequent ATCQ collaborator, Busta Rhymes. This doesn’t have a broad meaning; it’s more about the bars with the amazing production. It’s an amazing finish as Q-Tip sings along with Elton John into a melody that fades and echoes making it feel like a dream.

Kids… (Ft. Andre 3000):

Andre 3000 is, along with ATCQ, among the most influential in Hip-Hop/Rap being part of Outkast and making hit songs such as 2003s Hey Ya. It’s a dream come true for many on this collaboration track. The beat is a little more underwhelming when compared to other, but the hook constantly remains stuck in my head after a listen. Andre repeats lyrics telling kids the world is fancy. Parents lie to children as they grow up. They act like they’ve never done anything wrong. They’ll never own up, even though they’ve also had mistakes. Most have been told by their parents that kids can be whatever they want to be. But really, in poor African American communities, not everything is possible. But Q-tip and Andre had big dreams and they achieved.

The Killing Season Ft. Kanye West & Consequence):

Consequence is a frequent ATCQ collaborator, and Kanye is another important name in Hip-Hop. With this song, it once against speaks on injustices in black communities. Lyrics about soldiers and veterans are used  to compare their sufferings to those of black Americans. It also more obviously speaks on the blatant disrespect to veterans and police brutality. Kanye’s hook reminds me of his earlier albums as he sings out, ¨Ya sold ya sold, ya soldier.” My favorite verse comes from Consequence. He raps with a groove about racism when a bottle of alcohol can make someone look like devil through the eyes of a racist. He says  a conviction can start with someone swearing they had guns, but in the end they’ll be convicted for their use of freedom of speech. He even mentions the famous McKinney Pool Party, a pool party of roughly 100 mostly black students who were attacked by cops in a viral video. With references, it gets easier to paint a picture with lyrics to see through their eyes.

Lost Somebody:

This song offers my favorite beat on the whole album. The simple bass in the beginning gives an opening to a beautiful drop that transitions to multiple instruments, including soft piano. It’s a heartfelt song to remember Phife Dawg. The band of brothers took a heavy loss and this song makes it obvious. ATCQ member Jarobi said, ¨This was one of the hardest songs I’ve ever had to do-I know I had to be uber-personal just to talk about his spirit and the man he was and the person he was and the feelings that he shared,¨ according to NPR Music. It really shows the strength of their bonds. Jarobi’s deep voice gives a phenomenal verse to remember his friend. It’s a short track but it offers so much.

Conrad Tokyo (Ft. Kendrick Lamar):

Probably my favorite track, Conrad Tokyo features the amazing Kendrick Lamar. Not enough can be said about this man’s amazing rap style and performance. It offers ATCQs regular opinion on economy, but with some extremely smart lyrics to dissect. The hook chants, ¨Conrad Tokyo, Sapporo, Pistachio.¨ The sights of upper class are mentioned through the five star hotel in Tokyo, Japan, Conrad Tokyo. More Luxuries are Sapporo, a popular Japanese beer that is often served with pistachios. They are seen as a mark of success that the lower class cannot achieve. Kendrick’s verse is grim, giving a look in politics of so called ¨demons.¨ He says “goodbye tomorrow” as it is nothing more than blood on the ground.

ATCQs final album is nothing short of greatness. It effectively puts an end to an era that will not soon be forgotten. They did Phife Dawg well and he will no doubt always be remembered as a legend in the rap game. I give this album a 9/10.