Hip-hop greats A Tribe Called Quest back af­ter gap and loss

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

Pi­o­neer­ing hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest is back with its first al­bum in nearly 20 years - full of star con­tri­bu­tions and fi­nal words from late mem­ber Phife Dawg. “We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Ser­vice,” re­leased on Fri­day, is billed as the last al­bum by the band cred­ited with bring­ing a new artis­tic sense to the genre born on the streets of New York. In a sign of the group’s en­dur­ing in­flu­ence, some of the top names in mu­sic con­trib­uted to the al­bum in­clud­ing El­ton John, Ken­drick La­mar, Kanye West and Jack White.

The al­bum re­vis­its the clas­sic style of A Tribe Called Quest, with smooth but sparse beats and du­el­ing verses of its key mem­bers - Q-Tip, ex­pres­sive and up­front, with the snide asides of Phife Dawg. A Tribe Called Quest (ATCQ) has not re­leased an al­bum since 1998 amid fric­tion be­tween the two rap­pers, who had met as school­mates in the New York bor­ough of Queens in the 1980s. The pair rec­on­ciled and re­turned to the stu­dio in 2015 but Phife Dawg died in March afer a life­long strug­gle with di­a­betes.

Q-Tip, who early on be­came the face of the group and went on to a suc­cess­ful solo ca­reer, com­pleted the pro­duc­tion af­ter Phife Dawg’s death, eerily mix­ing the vo­cals posthu­mously. The al­bum marks some of the first political mu­sic since the shock elec­tion vic­tory of Don­ald Trump, al­though A Tribe Called Quest wrote the songs while the cam­paign was still un­der­way. On “Con­rad Tokyo,” Phife Dawg - who would not live to see Trump’s win - raps of watch­ing the elec­tion cam­paign on tele­vi­sion and his sur­prise at the lack of out­rage over the tone.

“Trou­ble­some times, kid / No times for com­edy,” he raps in the col­lab­o­ra­tion with La­mar, one of hip-hop’s most crit­i­cally ac­claimed voices. “The Killing Sea­son” - which features rap­pers West, Talib Kweli and Con­se­quence - takes up the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment, with vows never to for­get the rights of African Amer­i­cans. Quest­love, the pro­ducer and per­cus­sion­ist of The Roots who cred­its his dis­cov­ery of A Tribe Called Quest with trans­form­ing his early mu­si­cal sense, heaped praise on the al­bum in his ini­tial thoughts.

“This is an ex­cel­lent high note to end on but this is only telling me that the gas in ATCQ’s tank is nowhere near empty,” he wrote on In­sta­gram. A Tribe Called Quest is best known for “Can I Kick It?”, a mel­low track set to a sam­pled bass line from Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side.” — AFP

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