Can I Kick It?

After eighteen years, A Tribe Called Quest set aside their differences and presented us with their sixth studio album. “We Got it From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service” comes out swinging with the social commentary of the modern day while maintaining the feel of 90’s hip-hop of the group’s hay day.

Aside from frequent contributors like Busta Rhymes and Consequence, this latest albums features Andre 3000, Talib Kweli, Jack White, Anderson Paak, and even Elton John! This album came as a bit of a surprise since the group long said that 1998’s “The Love Movement” was their final album. However, after all that’s been going on in the world, the group felt collective change.

The title “We Got It From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service” was chosen by the group’s late member Phife Dawg, and even though the other members aren’t clear on it’s meaning, they decided to keep it in his honor. They even honored him during their Saturday Night Live performance with a drop-down poster featuring his face.

Saturday Night Live - Season 42

A Tribe Called Quest performing “We The People” on Saturday Night Live

Every track on this two part album is fantastic. No, really, it is! From the lyrics calling for an end to hate and encouraging coming together, to the cool and smooth beats throughout, this album is easily one of the best of the year.

I’ve pretty much had it on regular rotation since it came out on the eleventh of this month. I’ll even go as far as to say it’s my favorite hip-hop album of the year. It’s that good. Whether or not this turns out to be their actual final album remains to be seen, but it’s a great one for sure.

“We’ve Got it From Here…Thank You 4 Your Service” is available to stream on Apple Music and Spotify, but I would definitely encourage you to support the group by purchasing it as well.

Righteous Political Outrage?

Well, we certainly have a lot of…interesting discussions going on here in the US don’t we? The recent Presidential Election has lead to many heated debates, from both sides, as well as nation-wide protests.

While I have my own strong political opinions (as my family and friends have come to learn!) this is NOT a political blog. This is a music site, and as such I will do my due diligence to refrain from expressing any of my own political views on here.

There are, however, a wide variety of very political driven bands and performers out there. They’ve been around for decades and until the farfetched idea of world peace is achieved, they will remain and continue to voice their beliefs and concerns.

Because of everything that’s been going on in my country over the last two years, and especially these last few weeks, I have been listening to a lot of these bands on a more frequent basis. I mean, I’ve always loved Punk music, but now I have a better understanding of it. These bands, however, are not strictly punk bands.

As a matter of fact, protest songs and bands that write songs about politics stretches across nearly every genre of music! Well, aside from EDM, Dubstep, House, Dance, etc. Genres like Punk, Folk, Rock, and Rap have been at the forefront of this subject for decades.

Take Rage Against the Machine for instance. They released a song called “Testify” (which happens to be one of my favorite RATM tunes) on their album “The Battle of Los Angeles” back in 1999. Nearly twenty years ago, and it’s topic of corrupt politicians is applicable to this day.

Or how about the rapper Murs? Not only is he Guinness World Record holder for rapping for twenty four hours straight, but his 2008 album “Murs For President” touches on many social and political issues afflicting the African American population in this country. Prime example: his track “The Science” not only breaks down the history of oppression, but it also encourages education on American history and how to fight back (in a non-violent way, of course).

These are all recent examples, but it goes farther back. Almost fifty years ago, a little thing called Woodstock took place. Images of hippie burnouts aside, the central theme of the event was political cause. Think about it! What was one of the most iconic moments of the event? Jimi Hendrix playing the National Anthem on his guitar.

Why is that so iconic? We have the greatest guitar player of all time, who happens to be a Black man, performing an amazing rendition of this country’s anthem in a wordless manner. An anthem that was written when Black people were still slaves. The way he played it, the effects he used, brought to mind images of the Vietnam War that was going on, as well as the social injustices that were (and still are) plaguing this country.

Now, there are a variety of songs that reflect the other perspective as well. Political music isn’t all liberal, there’s plenty of conservative music out there as well. As it happens, it’s mostly from the Country music genre.

Common is the theme of National Pride and “America is the greatest damn Country” throughout the entire genre. Literally every Country music performer has a least one song with this theme. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing! Toby Keith made his career off of it.

Be that as it may, this subject is usually found in Country music only. Perhaps in Christian/Religious music too, but I am not getting into that subject right now. That’s a post for anther time.

Whatever your political and social views may be, there is a song and a band/artist for you. Whichever side of the issues you’re on, I do want to encourage you, my readers, to please listen and learn to work together. This country’s motto is “United We Stand” and really we’ve kind of lost track of that. There are a lot of problems going on, and only together can we work to fix it.