This is it. A Tribe Called Quest bids farewell with their new video for “The Space Program,” the opening track from the group’s stellar 2016 reunion album, We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service.
The Warren Fu-directed video is being billed as the group’s last, and if that’s true, at least they can say they went out with a bang. It opens with Q-Tip waking up in a spaceship of sorts, as televisions broadcast footage of riots and racist imagery. It’s a theme that’s visited throughout the video, particularly at the end, when the ship malfunctions and the message “I CAN’T BREATHE” — which echoes the last words of Eric Garner — appears. In the end, the three remaining members of Tribe end up on a barren planet. The late, great Phife Dog’s presence, meanwhile, is beautifully represented by a green, glowing orb.
The epic clip also includes a ton of cameos throughout, from Vince Staples, Kelly Rowland, Janelle Monae, Pharrell, Alicia Keys, Rosario Dawson, Anderson .Paak, Common, Questlove, and more. They all appear to rap the song’s urgent hook: “Gotta get it together forever / Gotta get it together for brothers / Gotta get it together for sisters / For mothers and fathers and dead n---as.”
At the end, we see a dedication that reads “For Malik,” or Phife Dawg, who passed away in 2016. As the credits roll, a montage of classic ATCQ photos appear, as the group’s 1990 hit “Can I Kick It?” plays.
Preview the clip below, and watch the full 8-minute video exclusively on Apple Music.
Following the video’s premiere on Thursday (March 29), Q-Tip spoke to Zane Lowe about Phife’s passing. He said, “I miss my boy still. ... And in this moment, I just break up when I hear my man's voice or when I see [a] picture of us, or even if it's not a Tribe record, I could hear a song that we grew up with, and we will always talk about something that was a personal favorite of ours or a tour favorite, or something that we would joke about or we would recall things like that.”
He continued, “But in terms of the actual group, in a professional setting, you know — I have the closure. I'm good with it. I look back at what we contributed to hip-hop, I look back at what we contributed to music, sometimes with disbelief.”