A Tribe Called Quest can still kick it. On Wednesday night, Q-Tip and Jarobi White held a listening party at MoMA PS1 in Queens for the group’s forthcoming album—their first in 18 years—We Got It from Here . . .
Thank You 4 Your Service. Famous faces like Consequence and Busta Rhymes, both of whom are featured on the album, cruised through the busy crowd during the night, which ended with D.J. sets from Prince Paul and Questlove. Guests sipped on Courvoisier cocktails with names like Bonita Applebum and Electric Relaxation.
Phife Dawg (born Malik Taylor), the group’s late founding member who passed away in March, was represented by his mother, who spent the night getting long hugs from Busta and Tip. During a later Q&A, Tip and White spoke animatedly about Phife’s influence, even reciting one of his verses from the new album:
“Now am I ’posed to be dead/Or doing life in prison?/Just another dummy caught up in the system.” Tip continued, pointing out this particular verse: ”Should I be mentally weak versus being Malik?”
“It paused right there,” he adds. “Because you know, Malik, it’s not just his name—it means ‘king.’”
While making the album, Tip says he listened to songs like “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen and “Money Trees” by Kendrick Lamar, sifting through sounds to find a “common thread.” The trio, back when Phife was alive, would often work together, reviving “the spirit of, not necessarily competition, but one-upping each other . . . steel sharpens steel,” Tip says. Any worries about ageism or breaking their hiatus didn’t apply any more: “That shit flew out the window . . . we just locked in. We became fucking kids again.”