Soooo much to unpack here. I’m not qualified to do it, but let see what I can come up with anyway.
First, let’s be clear: I LOVE A Tribe Called Quest.
They are my favorite music group of all time, their music has been a part of many memorable moments for me over the years, and basically…
This here tho?
Let’s start at the beginning…and the obvious.
Q-tip aka The Abstract aka Kamaal is PISSED.
But I am not sure if it’s really anger; or if it is misdirected sadness. Or simply a culmination of things.
My very uneducated guess: the perceived Grammy slight, plus this being Tribe’s last album, mixed with the passing of Phife Diggy (whose birthday was just days ago), and maybe whatever else he had going on in that moment may have sent bro over the edge. And while I don’t think he had a single valid point in this rant, I do respect his decision to speak out.
All that being said, his reaction was US. Whether internally or externally, this is us when we feel slighted.
Tip spoke out in perceived anger. He was mad about not being recognized.
He made reference to Tribe’s Grammy performance last year and turned that into a “y’all owe us” thing. Kind of a Susan Lucci moment, if you will.
He also dissed the Grammy ‘n—-s’ and spoke as if ATCQ’s nomination, or lack thereof, didn’t really matter because of other legendary artists that The Recording Academy had overlooked in the past.
Then we had the “I’ll show you bad” moment where Tip hinted at what would be going on at the Kennedy Center in December. And to bring it full circle, we end with anger and an expletive laced diss on the way out.
Here’s the thing…or things in this case:
-If acknowledgement by The Recording Academy doesn’t matter, why be so mad?
-Are we looking for a lifetime achievement-type, parting gift nomination?
-And if so, would we really want a nomination that isn’t based on the product in question?
Hip hop has been in a love/hate relationship with award shows since forever. And while things have changed a tad since Chuck D spit “Who gives a f***about a godd@mn grammy”, they haven’t REALLY changed.
You know. Like society.
But I digress. In 2017 we are a bunch of “accept me so I can accept you or dismiss you (on my terms); but if you don’t accept me, well I don’t care because you don’t matter anyway” people. That underlying way of thinking starts with us as children and continues throughout our lives in different capacities.
Human nature? Maybe. Or maybe we are afraid to put ourselves out there and fully want something because nobody likes to feel rejected. I’ll stop and leave the extended remix psychobabble for the experts.
But as a huge Tribe fan since I first heard them, I’ll say this:
“We Got it From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service” is a good project. However, based on the musical climate today and on its own merit as an album, it isn’t quite there. It may be the 3rd best ATCQ album ever, it may even be 4th. Either way, it isn’t a slam dunk sonically outside of us simply missing that Tribe vibe.
Still, without the pulling of emotional strings attached to the devastating loss of Phife and the realization of this being the final studio album; nah fam.
Dag. Kinda hurts to type that, but truth is truth.
I tell you one good thing that will come out of this. That Kennedy Centers Honors thing they are working on is gonna be LIT.