A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here… \\ Best albums of 2016
We’re revealing the ten best albums of 2016
Apathetic snare hits, tongue in cheek lyricism, warm, crackling production; We Got It From Here… is hiphop hygge.
Place the sexually charged poetry of Enough!! or sample-stitched Whatever Will Be amongst a playlist of Tribe’s finest and you’d be forgiven for thinking these could have been on one of their nineties releases. We Got It From Here… sits alongside the aesthetic of 1991’s Low End Theory without jarring, yet it sounds current. Perhaps that’s simply the musical cycle; we recreate what we know by the examples that we’re set in our formative years. We’ve heard it in practice throughout 2016; we can recognise 90’s UK garage influences in Yussef Kamaal’s Black Focus and gospel vocals a la early Kanye West in Chance The Rapper’s Colouring Book. Tribe brewed such a distinctive sound that this year they were able to reveal an album that is contemporary and inspired by their own legacy.
Phife Dawg and Q-Tip have always been held in high regard for their social commentary. Fans are porous for it. Music is a historical artefact and lyrics are its mouthpiece. We Got It From Here… is a bittersweet product of a pre-Trump America that is rotting by the hand of social injustice. “All you black folks; you must go, all you Mexicans; you must go, and all you poor folks; you must go. Muslims and gays; boy we hate you ‘a’s”. Phife presents the chorus on We The People with a catchy melodic hook and it’s unsettling – much like the subject of the track.
Phife Dawg’s passing in March make’s the messages on We Got It From Here… all the more poignant. Hiphop is a great vessel for truths. If there is anything that music in 2017 needs, it’s just that.
Head to our homepage to read more of our best albums of 2016.
JS | Tina Edwards