On November 11, A Tribe Called Quest will release their final album titled We Got It From Here, Thank You for Your Service that will feature the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Andre 3000, Consequence, Jack White, Elton John and Busta Rhymes.
Q-Tip talked to the New York Times about the last years of Phife Dawg, repairing their relationship and so much more, including the creation of the album, which took place with everyone showing up in person at Q-Tip’s New Jersey studio.
All of the recording sessions for “We Got It From Here, Thank You for Your Service” took place at Q-Tip’s studio, which Busta Rhymes called “phenomenal.” Soft design touches like bamboo floors and pink mood lights contribute to the warm aesthetic. But a vibe also flows from the history in the room. The main recording board has captured the music of Blondie, the Ramones and Art Blakey. There’s a tape reel that was used by Frank Zappa and equipment from the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix.
Q-Tip had one major rule for the album: He insisted that everyone who was a part of it come work in the studio. “If you wrote your rhyme somewhere else, you still had to come back and lay your verse in Q-Tip’s house,” Busta Rhymes said. “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.”
When Jack White came to the studio, things fell right into place. “We recorded so many tracks and ideas,” he said. “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 and Jack White connected when he asked to do an old Tribe song called “Excursions” in his stage show. They learned they were mutual admirers of each other’s work.) Jack White came to the studio without his own gear. “He just took a guitar off the wall and plugged it in and just got his wizard on,” Q-Tip said.
“It was thrilling to the guys to watch stars like Jack White, Mr. Lamar and André 3000 come through and record. It was even more exciting to have their brother Phife around all the time. But now some of the group members think that all that traveling may have contributed to grinding him down, physically. “Doing this album killed him,” Jarobi White said simply. “And he was very happy to go out like that.”
Look for the album on November 11th.