I’m working on an article about the record now and trying to get my thoughts out on what’s such a rewarding album.
One major thing I disagree with you on is the Tip & Friends thing. Well, maybe not disagree, but I think your headline overemphasizes it. Tribe has always been Tip & Friends, from handling the entire production for the first three albums alone and from Phife’s diminished role on the first album. In fact, Phife said he really felt like he hit his stride on Midnight and then immediately Consequence came in and dominated on Beats out of nowhere (which makes your Consequence taking on Phife’s role sentiment a little off in my opinion).
For me, this record in a way feels like a utopian album where even hidden and controversial figures like Jarobi and Consequence really shine through. I was surprised no one from De La jumped in though.
What I was somewhat hoping for was form them to use some Dilla sample or beat but maybe that would have been too schmaltzy. I haven’t made up my mind on that, yet.
Enjoyed the article and defintely gave me some food for thought.