My Tribe: An Ode to ATCQ

Peace, love, and light fam! It is my hope that all is awesome with you as always. I am still on cloud 9 after the release of my favorite hip hop group’s final album. If I need to remind you of who I am referring to, let me make it clear—the group is A Tribe Called Quest and the album is “We Got It From Here….Thank You For Your Service” and it is absolutely, unequivocally my favorite ish right now!!

If it sounds like I am a super fan please know that my love of Tribe defies any description. Some may think I exaggerate when I say their music saved my life, but it did. When I was living in a very dysfunctional situation and felt as though there was absolutely no hope for me, Tribe told me to keep going, that it was ok to be “Stressed Out”; that being a nerd, a linguist, was absolutely dope. So, this blog post is dedicated to A Tribe Called Quest.  I will share my feelings on them, some of my all time favorite Tribe bangers, and my thoughts on the new album and why I feel this purchasing this album is necessary for anyone who claims to be a real “hip hop head”.

So, let me say this, I am a lover of all things hip hop. I grew up during the Golden Age of hip hop and though I was undoubtedly a youngster during the 80’s, I was always mature when it came to music. My family is musical so I was exposed to the awesome music of Bloodstone, Earth, Wind, and Fire, Marvin Gaye, Howling Wolf, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and so many others. I have very sophisticated musical tastes even to this day. I fell in love with Tribe when I heard Bonita Applebum in the summer of 1990. I will not reveal how old I was , but I knew that I absolutely loved those guys with the locked hair and the tie dyed shirts. It was a hip hop love song and I was enthralled with them.

My favorite Tribe songs are of course Bonita Applebum, Electric Relaxation, The Hop, Jazz (We’ve Got), Check the Rhime, Sucka Nigga, Lyrics to Go, and Footprints. I love others but these seem to stay in my daily rotation. Phife Dawg was my favorite member of the group and as you all are aware he has transitioned from the physical. His spirit, however, is alive and well.

Their newest release is epic! They effectively applied their original formula and attacked numerous topics and issues within our community. The track titled “We The People” has a powerful  message, speaking of the affluent against the poor and issues we face daily. There were two tributes to Phife  on the album, one titled “The Donald” was bittersweet but so poignant and heartfelt and “Lost Somebody” was a tearjerker for me. I love the album and its message but it is heartbreaking to know that this is it for Tribe. No more albums will come forth. I am, however, very hopeful. Tribe has given rise to great artists and will always be the heartbeat of hip hop. Q-Tip, Phife, Jairobi, and Ali if this blog ever reaches your eyes, please know that this Sistar loves you all–deeply, honestly, and sincerely. Hmmm, I think it’s time for a poem to these pioneers. They deserve it, still trendsetting after all these years.




Ashaki Ma’at Mirembe Ali

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