Q-Tip Details The Back Story, Title & Guests On A Tribe Called Quest’s Final Album
A Tribe Called Quest album titles are embedded in the consciousness of popular music and culture. Beats, Rhymes & Life, The Low End Theory, and even The Love Movement are expressions, themes, and reminders of specific times in art. Having announced that the Queens, New York collective completed an album before the March death of Phife Dawg, Tribe’s final title is confirmed as We Got It From Here, Thank You for Your Service. Reportedly, Phife Dawg chose it—and its meaning is open to interpretation, even for Tip. More than that, the album is arriving in just over one week–on November 11.
In a comprehensive feature interview with The New York Times, Q-Tip reveals to Touré that he and Phife were crafting the LP by phone less than 24 hours before the 5 Foot Assassin’s death from kidney failure. “I had no idea that his days was numbered,” Q-Tip explained. He was with fellow A.T.C.Q. Jarobi at Tip’s home studio in New Jersey when the news reached them.
We Got It From Here, Thank You for Your Service features all four founding members of Tribe. As a group who utilized guests on albums early in their extensive career (and participated on others’), this Epic Records LP will feature Outkast’s Andre 3000, Kendrick Lamar, and fellow Native Tongues member and longtime collaborator Busta Rhymes. Elton John and The White Stripes’s Jack White are also enlisted.
Busta, down with Tribe for more than 25 years, told the Times that while creating this album, the spirits were light. “I seen them laughing and joking and high-fiving.” Meanwhile, The Abstract declared, “I hadn’t seen Phife that happy since we were kids.” In the interview, Q-Tip also spoke on the rebuilding process he and Phife needed to make this album. Following 2011’s Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest documentary for Sony, many outsiders saw the turmoil within the group—especially between its two lead MCs. “I went through a lot of internal and family persecution around the group,” Q-Tip told Touré. “A lot of people faulted me for breaking it up.” Detailing the reconciliation, Tip says, “He came here, and we was bonding. We went through all of the stuff and apologized.” The MC/producer reveals that he and his childhood friend began calling each other by their given names—as they used in the beginning, not their professional monikers. By the recording period, Phife was considering relocating from Oakland, California to make his residence near his friend and band-mate.
Reportedly, all recordings, including by the guests, were done at Q-Tip’s historic studio. The spokesman for the group also confirms that this will be the final A.T.C.Q album.
The Times report also features commentary by Ali, Jarobi, Andre 3000, and Jack White. The feature also confirms that a sophomore Phife Dawg solo album, the first in 15 years, will also be releasing soon.