Exclaim!'s Top 15 Hip-Hop Albums Best of 2016



 
3. A Tribe Called Quest
We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service
(Epic)

To understand A Tribe Called Quest's sixth and final studio album, We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service, requires understanding the very foundations hip-hop culture stands on — expression, subversion, bravado and experimentalism. Following the recent passing of the late Phife Dawg, it was hard to imagine what could become of a new Tribe release in 2016, but the full-bodied album wasn't lacking in spirit, and served as a telling tribute to the group's effortless dynamism and legacy.
 
As honorary ATCQ members Consequence and Busta Rhymes coat the album with their natural presence, the integration of newer artists like Anderson .Paak and Kendrick Lamar bring the album full-circle. Layered with the classic jazzy soul elements that Quest fans have come to know and love, the 14-track album is carefully mastered to relive the nuances of the Ummah's early production and the futuristic spirits of the Native Tongues movement.
 
While the intentions of We Got It from Here…Thank You 4 Your Service was largely rooted in being a celebration of life for Phife Dawg, it instantaneously re-injected present-day rap culture with the fuel to drive a musical revolution through lyricism, creativity and a passion for this culture.
Erin Lowers