2016 needs to end. Who knew that the loss of David Bowie in January would be such a harbinger of the fraught, gloomy year to come. From the loss of what seems like every seminal music icon, to the most divisive election season many of us have ever seen, this year has been astoundingly exhausting regardless of your musical taste or political affiliation.
One of the toughest blows to deal with however, was the loss of A Tribe Called Quest‘s emcee Phife Dawg at the upsettingly young age of 45. Though Phife has struggled with diabetes his whole life, even flippantly joking about it in his angular lyrics, his death still came as a shock, rumbling the foundation upon which modern hip-hop was built. Their forward-thinking abilities as a group have always seemed more and more impressive as more times passes from their most active years.
Perhaps it was with this same supernatural clairvoyance that Phife knew he had just enough time to release one last record with his former bandmates Q-Tip, Jarobi White, and Ali Shaheed Muhammed. And listening to it today, it mirrors, in varying capacities, the distresses and anxieties that we have all felt, even since he passed earlier this year. Listening to their final record, We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service, you can’t help but wonder, how did he know all this would happen? But the album, which seemingly talks about things that just happened this week, is really about all of the problems that have always been there, since long before A Tribe Called Quest released their first record in 1990. This, their final album as a group, is merely a group of talented individuals following the advice they gave on the first track from that initial record. Even in times of struggle, bleakness, and death, they continue to help us push it along.
Image: Jive Records
Matt Grosinger is the music editor of Nerdist and is so tired right now.