After a long 18 years of only wishing and hoping for such an album, it happened. What happened you might ask? Friday morning, we were graced with the 6th and final album of A Tribe Called Quest’s We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service. Q-Tip, Jarobi White, Ali Shaheed Muhammed, and late Phife Dawg, all pioneers of alternative hip-hop, blend that old school style with a modern twist. Unfortunately, the group had split after their 5th release The Love Movement, but reunited after performing on the Tonight Show a decade later. Bringing back the 90’s rap style we all grew up and loved, A Tribe Called Quest capitalize their delivery with noticeable samples and spoken word. The chemistry clearly wasn’t lost. Hip-Hop fans tend to forget who inspired and continue to inspire our writers of today. Personally it was a joy to hear Phife Dawg throughout this entire project with features from Elton John, Andre 3000, Busta Rymes, and Anderson Paak. If you don’t already know be sure to check out A Tribe Called Quest tonight on SNL also hosted by Dave Chappelle.
The song that I chose for my lyric breakdown was Lucy in the sky with diamonds. Now there are two reasons for why this song is amazing. The first being that John Lennon was on LSD during the creation of the song, and the second reason is because of how this song was created. As it turns, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds was based on a real person. Lucy O’Donnell was a classmate with John Lennon’s son Julian in preschool. Julian would draw pictures of Lucy all of the time, one of which Julian ended up naming Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.
The song itself however is very cleverly written. The first literally device in song would be imagery. John stated that Alice In Wonderland heavily inspired him, and that he wanted to make a song similar to that. This is why the lyrics of the song are literal, and requires you to really visualize yourself within the song as John Lennon guides you through it. “Picture yourself in a boat on a river with tangerine trees, and marmalade sky’s.”
The second literally device found within the song would be use of symbolism. In the song, John consistently mentions “the girl with kaleidoscope eyes”. You image he is referring to a grown woman when John introduces her, but in actuality he is referring to a child. There various things in the song that hints to it being about a kid, like the Kaleidoscope. Kaleidoscopes are primarily children’s toys, so John is saying that this child is able to see through the eyes of a child, hence the girl with kaleidoscope eyes.
The Last Literary Device that I found in the song was the Euphony imbedded into it. This song, no pun intended, is meant to take you on the happiest trip you’ve ever been a part of. With lyrics like, “Follow her down by the bridge by the fountain, where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies”, how could you not have a smile on your face. The surreal world that John creates through his use of imagery is greatly complemented by almost serendipitous lyrics that are recited.
Posted by Fumbah Tulay