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Can “A Tribe Called Quest” Still Kick It?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

A Tribe Called Quest has been a part of the music industry for 30 years. They are a group of poetic, direct and boundary pushing individuals. After 18 years, ATCQ has returned to the rap game at a time in society when we need them the most. Time after time, society fails to give any credit to music, literature or art in general when, in fact, these genres seem to speak more truth than any news article can.

Many know ATCQ, but may not have taken the time to listen to them. On Nov. 11, ATCQ released their sixth and possibly last album entitled We got it from Here…Thank You 4 Your service.  ATCQ is playing in a young man’s game due to the fact that much of the rap scene right now consists of young men, but older rappers tend to be overlooked. Older rappers understand the game and can critique society from the perspective of someone who has gone through many different experiences in life. ATCQ has seen the hate of this country from the beginning. In a recent interview with The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Q-Tip from ATCQ discussed ATCQ’s sixth album and the lyrics in their song “We the People.” Q-Tip explains, “You felt it brewing in this country, that there was disposable people, people who may not add to the true economic game. What we have to realize in this society, in capitalism, is that the bottom line is money. In order for someone to truly capitalize there has to be a weak link.” Much of the world is confused, angry and trying to make sense of a country where we’re supposed to be free, but sense fear around every corner—a country that disposes of you when you don’t fit their plan anymore. Just as ATCQ says in the song, “Conrad Tokyo,” “Why y’all cool with the f*ckery, Trump and the SNL hilarity. Troublesome times, kid, no times for comedy.”

Courtesy: Pitchfork


We got it from Here…Thank You 4 Your service is incredibly beautiful and powerful. Released shortly after the 2016 election and recorded just before the death of Phife Dawg, a member of ATCQ, this album honors a fallen member as well as comments on the state of our country. The beauty of A Tribe Called Quest is their ability to create a message within their music, a message that has the ability to give this world the courage to make a change. Their music has an unconventional style—you can feel the funk of their jazz influence, but they also beautifully mix in the melody of a piano. ATCQ, as stated by an article on Pitchfork, “defies simple description” and is seen as the start of alternative hip-hop similar to likes of Joey Bada$$, Earl Sweatshirt, Kendrick Lamar and J.Cole. Q-Tip is even quoted for saying that these rappers are “gatekeepers of flow/they are extensions of instinctual soul.” All of these rappers, including ATCQ, are trying to push our country forward because “moving backwards was never part of the plan.”


Allow music to empower you to use your voice. ATCQ may have been out of the game for 18 years, but they can most definitely still kick it. The question is: Can you? 

I am currently a junior at Florida State University, studying Editing, Writing and Media. I have a passion for fashion and I love all things pop culture. After graduating I hope to pursue a career in journalism as for now I am simply trying to balance: school, work, having a social life and when I can sleep! I'm taking each day as it comes, and enjoying this journey that is life.
Her Campus at Florida State University.