LA Reid dropped a mega bomb on the Rap Radar podcast last week when he revealed that there is a new ATCQ project. It had been recorded before the untimely death of Phife Dawg a vital member of the group. Being well aware of his strained relationship with Q-Tip, even them together in the studio has the water works of hip hop heads across the world turning on. (I cried when I heard…..JUDGE ALL YOU WANT)
All four original members (Yes even Jarobi) collaborated on the project that LA Reid himself said would be out “very soon”. After their album the Love Movement in 1998 dropped the group parted ways, blazing their own respective careers. As a hip hop head that was indoctrinated into the world of lyrics by Tribe, the anticipation to hear this project is insurmountable. The first thing that I thought however was ‘I hope they don’t let me down’.
Now before you show up with your Pitchforks slandering my name after that comment let me explain. A group that hadn’t recorded together in over 15 years embarking on a new cohesive project is a task within itself. BUT THIS IS TRIBE. A conversation I have heard other music journalists have is about the group’s cohesion after their sophomore release The Low End Theory. It pains me to say but there was a difference, especially when Q-Tip introduced Consequence. (No shade to Cons though!)
Immediately after the news broke my mind went straight to that. Questions poured out, will it mesh well? Are they happy being together? Is it going to feel like Tribe record?
Almost ashamed at myself, my biggest worry is if it won’t feel the same. As music shifts the songs, lyrics and sounds that mean the most to us as listeners are timeless and emote such feeling. That is what Tribe is to me, it is listening to something, understanding what it is saying and being so enveloped in the musicality and cleverness of it all. Their music was and is still discovery that continually shape shifts as the years go by to mean something else. Am I afraid that they will rap over a mustard beat and take up the phonetically deaf sound lyrical pattern of Lil Uzi Vert, no. Am I afraid that they will be dated, no. Am I afraid that it won’t resonate with me because it’s been so long since I left my wallet in el Segundo, yes.
In theory this could end up resulting in two general feeling across the masses. The first being we could be mind-blown by the sheer jive of the group and the music Q-tip masterminds and the lyrical jabber between them all being so perfect. It can become an album to reignite their reign as one of the best rap groups of all time and carry such weight like the rest of their music. (Ideally this is how I would love for it to go down in my mind.) Or the other option is- it can be less of what we all hoped for.
It makes me cringe to even admit it – but am I alone in this?
Tribe hasn’t let me down since 1990 and I don’t think they will let me down in 2016. (Or 2017 whenever the EP drops) But is it okay to hope they don’t let you down?
I just don’t know.