A couple weeks ago A Tribe Called Quest broke the news that they had a final album on the way, one they’d been working on when Phife Dawg tragically died earlier this year at the age of 45. In fact, in the lead up to the album it was revealed that though he was sick and suffering from diabetes, Phife Dawg put his all into making this record.
Tribe’s other founding member, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and their fourth member, the MC Jarobi White were also involved with the record, which has sixteen original tracks from the group, many of which involve or feature Phife, or included his input. An extensive profile in The New York Times gets into detail about how involved Phife was before his death, for those who are reticent about whether an album that was finished without the late MCs presence is truly a Tribe record.
Today, we found out Kanye West would be featured on the record, and he’s just one guest among many others. Some of the previously announced guests on the record include names like Kendrick Lamar, Elton John, André 3000, Jack White, and Busta Rhymes. Ahead of its release tomorrow, the album is now streaming.
For his part, you can read below that Questlove is thrilled about the new album. Here’s the full text of his Instagram from earlier today posted verbatim, which probably sums up the record better than anyone else will:
“All imma say is Yes. Yes. Yes. I didn’t wanna do the privilege stuntin brag move. w/o spoiler alerting I’ll just say 3 things: 1) I miss the group esthetic in hip hop especially in mc’n—like this ain’t a “ok this my 16, then hook then your 16, then let’s do his 16″—-nah this some Run DMC/Beastie Boys/Furious 5 collaborative tug-of-war-rhyming (just putting it out there: if #Andre3000 joined @ATCQ this would be the best most welcome move in music prolly since JG joined NE or maybe Edwards came to the Temptations) 2) the last time I was so pleasantly surprised at someone’s hidden skill performance was when @djmaseo came out of nowhere kickin ass and takin names on #DeLaSoulIsDead—but man all I’m left wonderin was what if @jarobiwhite had barz on the OTHER tribe records! Which leads to my last point: 3) 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. Like this album is it’s own lane: it fulfills and itches so many scratches I’ve been jonzin for: tempos I love (95-100 bpms) the random scattered bomb squad production tactics of classic albums like #AmerikkkasMostWanted & #FearOfABlackPlanet (16 songs running through you like bullets at the speed of sound, a bowl of stew made by @chefludo and his zany chefs at @troismecla all in tune with each other knowing the RIGHT amount of spices to throw in)–I mean it’s feels vintage in its musicality but is such a 2016 record. And it’s timing could really really truly couldn’t be like—better because it’s topical. This is so needed right now. Come midnight tonight you will be HAPPY AS HELL. Matter of fact? (Forgot it’s Thursday) tonight at #BowlTrain I’m spinning ALL TRIBE! why? I wanna hear #ThankYouForYourService on loud ass speakers! See y’all tonight after @talibkweli’s @brooklynbowl concert. It’s gonna be an amazing night of hip hop I’ll tell you that much.”
The group will be performing songs from the record on ‘SNL’ this weekend. Stream the album below via Spotify.