by William Kosh
photo by Aristos Marcopoulos c/o SME
A Tribe Called Quest was one of the most elemental forces in ‘90s rap. Pioneers of the “native tongues” movement, Tribe distinguished themselves by supplementing their sound with shades of jazz and rock. They emerged from the north side of Queens (“192 is the area”) in the mid-‘80s as a four-piece to release two of the most influential rap albums of all time, The Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders. Then, decades of silence. When they finally came back together last year, they recorded We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service, which may be their greatest album to date. Tragically, Tribe member Phife Dawg passed away from diabetes after production wrapped on the album. But his legacy lives on. While Tribe’s early albums laid the groundwork for later innovations from the likes of The Roots and Kendrick Lamar, their new work is a salute to the future of the genre they helped shape.