With daily anti-Trump protests taking place nationwide in the days following the U.S. presidential election, A Tribe Called Quest‘s “We the People….” video couldn’t feel timelier. Plus, with the song recorded long before the election, it’s all the more prescient. The song hails from the group’s politically charged We Got it From Here … Thank You 4 Your Service, which was released last Friday.
“We the People….” is a rallying cry addressing the racism, xenophobia, homophobia and misogyny that have plagued society. The clip opens on a city rooftop, where people are setting up a PA system as shots of the skyline flash by. A emergency warning signal is heard before Q-Tip appears in a recording studio, surrounded by scores of mics as he drops the first verse. “We don’t believe you, ’cause we the people/ Are still here in the rear/ ay yo, we don’t need you,” he spits.
As he raps, people around the city begin to gather, following his voice over the loudspeakers and the cables running throughout the streets. Fellow surviving ATCQ members Jarobi White and producer-DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammad appear by Tip’s side for the condemnatory, wry hook, “All you black folks, you must go/ All you Mexicans, you must go/ And all you poor folks, you must go,” Tip raps. “Muslims and gays, boy, we hate your ways/ So all you bad folks, you must go.”
Deceased member Phife Dawg appears on a building via graffiti artwork that’s animated to portray him singing. “Dreaming of a world that’s equal for women with no division,” he spits during his verse. “Boy, I tell you that’s a vision.” The video culminates in a massive gathering of unity.
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Last weekend, A Tribe Called Quest performed “We the People” and “The Space Program” with Consequence and Busta Rhymes on Saturday Night Live.