In a New York Times profile, Tribe's Q-Tip and Jarobi White talked about their surprise album, which the group started working on following their 2015 Tonight Show reunion and completed after the death of Malik "Phife Dawg" Taylor.
The new album is titled We Got It From Here, Thank You for Your Service, a phrase that Phife Dawg picked. "We're just going with it because he liked it," Q-Tip said, admitting he doesn't know the title's true meaning. The album is due out November 11th.
Despite the sudden and surprise announcement of Tribe Called Quest's first album in 18 years – L.A. Reid let news of its impending arrival slip out in a radio interview – We Got It From Here, Thank You for Your Service is actually the product of weeks of recording sessions that saw Phife shuttling between Oakland and Q-Tip's studio in New Jersey to lay down the LP's tracks.
"If you wrote your rhyme somewhere else, you still had to come back and lay your verse in Q-Tip's house,” Busta Rhymes told the New York Times. "So we pretty much did every song together. Everybody wrote his stuff in front of everybody. Everybody spat their rhymes in front of each other. We were throwing ideas around together."
During the recording sessions, Phife and Q-Tip mended their often-fractious relationship, which makes the "final Tribe album" that much more poignant for the rapper. "I had no idea that his days was numbered," Q-Tip said. "I just want to celebrate him, you know."
White became involved in the project after he and the rapper linked up onstage at White's Madison Square Garden gig in January 2015 to perform ATCQ's "Excursions."
"We recorded so many tracks and ideas," White said of the sessions. "It's one of those scenarios where we're so excited to finally get to work together that it was exploding in a whole different direction. We really didn't know what we were doing, it was just a 'hurry up and press record' kind of moment." Q-Tip added that White arrived with no gear; he simply took a guitar off the wall and "got his wizard on."
Andre 3000 and Lamar, two rappers that paid tribute to Phife Dawg following his March death, also contribute verses to the album. "He's like your common man's homeboy,"” André 3000 told the New York Times of Phife. "He's like the dude next door that watched sports and is always talking about the game. And he was funny."