Epic Records CEO L.A. Reid has revealed that A Tribe Called Quest completed work on a new album, the group’s first since 1998, prior to Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor’s death in March.
Speaking to the Rap Radar Podcast, Reid said the LP is “a brand new album that they recorded before Phife [Dawg] passed away. I’m really happy about it man, it’s really something special. It’s one of the things I’m most excited about over everything we’re working on.”
Reid insisted that the upcoming release, due out “very soon,” was in fact a new album and not a compilation of unreleased tracks and other recordings from the band’s Nineties output. The Epic mogul also reiterated that “Phife is there, the whole group: Jarobi, the entire group, everybody. It’s great too.”
A Tribe Called Quest members have not commented on Reid’s claims on social media.
A Tribe Called Quest’s last released The Love Movement in 1998; prior to the album’s release, the group announced that they would disband following its arrival. However, over the next 17 years, Tribe Called Quest continued to perform together live. After ATCQ outlined a massive reissue campaign, all four members reunited in November 2015 to perform “Can I Kick It?” on the Tonight Show, their final appearance together before Phife Dawg’s death.
In November 2015, prior to the Tonight Show reunion, Phife Dawg expressed doubts that A Tribe Called Quest would ever get back together in the studio. “I don’t know because if we can’t get together and do shows, it’s going to be even more difficult going into the studio and recording an album,” Phife told Rolling Stone.
At the time, the rapper added that he was disappointed the reunion was only a one-off. “I think it is ludicrous that we are not performing together.” Phife said. “It’s dumb, and I don’t agree with it and we’re doing the fans a great injustice by not getting together and rocking, and that’s all I can really speak on as far as that goes.”