By Mike Bertram
Legendary rap group A Tribe Called Quest changed hip-hop forever with their conscience, jazz-influenced approach to music back in the 90’s.
When they stormed the scene in that time period they became tied to New York hip hop and help nurter a scene ready to explode with other titans in the hip-hop industry. If you enjoyed hip hop in the new millinial you owe a big thank you to A Tribe Called Quest.
The members rapper/producer Q-Tip, rapper Phife Dawg, DJ Ali Shaheed Muhummad, and sometimes-member Jarobi broke up in 1998 due to infighting and a reunion was not looking promising until this year.
When Phife Dawg died in March of 2016, it was revealed they had been secretly planning an album. Come November, “We Got it From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service” was released as a final tribute to their fallen member.
While Tribe’s classic 90’s albums are known for their cohesive sound and consistency, the production on this album sounds like a beautiful collage.
“Solid Wall of Sound” starts with an Elton John sample before opening up into a jazzy piano beat for each member to rap back and forth playfully with each other. Q-Tip, Phife, and Jarobi have always found the perfect lyrical balance between political awareness, humor, and practical life, and this album is no different.
“We The People” strongly satirizes and shows the faults with certain unnamed political leader’s hateful views on race, religion, and sexuality.
“Lost Somebody” is a touching tribute to Phife Dawg, and Q-Tip’s verse is particularly heart-wrenching.
If there is any album we needed to put all the madness of 2016 in perspective, it’s the new A Tribe Called Quest album.
By Mike Bertram
The French electronic group M83 has had their fair share of incredible albums over the years. They spent most of the 2000’s and the current decade making epic, grandiose music spanning several genres. So, when they announced a new album being released, fans had nothing but excitement.
They were unfortunately horribly disappointed. “Junk” is more concerned with nostalgia than making actually good music.
It sounds like the soundtrack to a corny 80’s teenage romance movie that hasn’t aged well. “Do It, Try It” uses almost the same bassline as the Seinfeld theme song. Every vocal guest on the album falls flat over the cheesy synth-pop music.
Mai Lan is featured heavily on vocals, and her voice is breathy and lifeless. The cheesiest saxophone solo of the decade occurs on “For The Kids,” along with a bizarre and pointless spoken word section where a child is talking to her mother about pretty much nothing directly following it. For some reason, the album closes with a harmonica solo.
The album lacks a genuine lack of connection. It’s lack of deepness and emotion in it’s songs. Yet what we got was something new that held none of the quirks that made this group a mainstay.
The album also relies too much on nostalgia on an age of electronic music that is no longer relavant. So in the end M83 tried two too diffrent things with this album that ultimately failed. They tried to change the base sound that made them famous, while trying to relieve tropes in eletronic music from years ago.
Nostalgia when placed correctly takes the genre and flips it in a different and unique way then it has been used before. M83 fails to do so and instead sounds uninspired and out of touch.