Toppa Top 12: Twelve Caribbean Albums We Loved in 2016

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December 21, 2016

9. A Tribe Called Quest, We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service (Epic/Sony)


Hip-hop received a gift on November 11th, when A Tribe Called Quest issued their sixth and final album. Released days after the election of Donald Trump, We Got It From Hereโ€ฆ Thank You 4 Your Service was an uncanny, timely meditation on America, Blackness and 2016, and as perfect epitaph for one of hip-hop’s greatest groups as one could hope for. Started before and finished after the passing of Phife Dawg, the album has been lauded for all sorts of reasons; we’d like to take this opportunity to highlight its substantial Caribbean influence, though. Phife, a proud Trinidadian, often pulled from the vocabulary of reggae and dancehall on Tribe projects, but never as consistently as he does on We Got It From Here. This is particularly notable on the tracks featuring long-time collaborator, honorary fifth Tribe member, and Jamaican-American MC, Busta Rhymes, like โ€œSolid Wall of Sound,โ€ and โ€œThe Donald.โ€ Elsewhere, echoes of Musical Youth can be heard on โ€œDis Generation,โ€ while the dubwise โ€œWhateva Will Beโ€ samples a little-known 1970s recording by Jamaicaโ€™s Nairobi Sisters. It’s not the most prominent feature of this sweetly imperfect album, but a critical one nonetheless.โ€” Jesse Serwer