A Celebration of Phife

 

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It’s been a long time since I blogged here, mainly because I lost the inspiration to write about music and that’s because the music being put out today days is so unspirational, and I can only write the days of yesteryear’s Hip Hop Golden Era so much without becoming irrelevant.

Now that is out of the way.

Malik Izaak Taylor a.k.a Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest on a Tuesday (March 22nd). It’s only the third month of the year but 2016 has claimed lives, in fact as of this writing comedian Garry Shandling has died at 66…him I liked. (I actually wrote this post a few weeks back I was just waiting for the right time to post it.)

But Phife…that hurt.

When I was in high school particularly in the 9th grade in 1991 I had two cassette tapes at the beginning of the year. The first was Ice Cube’s 2nd album Death Certificate and A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory. Even at the time Phife had more quotables than Q-Tip, but I don’t want to make this about who was better, they both complimented each other well. However,  I’m more to likely to bang a Big Boi record than Andre 3000 if you catch my analogy.

The over looming stigma of Phife was that his contribution to Tribe was underrated, even though real heads knew different this sentiment was thought by Phife himself…and he was right. It’s sad that only only his absence that we realize how important he was not only to A Tribe Called Quest, but to Hip Hop itself. I mean I remember that first time I heard Check The Rhime, it had to have been the summer before 9th grade began I saw the video on Rap City it defined Hip Hop for the next seven years.

Q-Tip and Phife are our generation’ Lennon and McCartney except now it’s like McCartney died first. There hasn’t been  a ATCQ album in almost twenty years since 1998, and I don’t think we were ever going to get one, but now we’re faced with realization that A Tribe Called Quest much like the Beastie Boys is officially over out of respect for their fallen friends and band mates.

Don McLean wrote the song American Pie that refers to “The Day the Music Died” the day that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson died in that plane crash in February 3, 1959. Hip Hop also has that day where it could be adequated to the deaths of Tupac and Biggie, but despite all the many fallen emcees of the past, I believe we have our equivalent.

 

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