It’s a sad for hip-hop. A member of a legendary group and crew has passed away. Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest and Native Tongues Crew is no longer on this earth, but his musical contribution can’t and will never be forgotten.
No secret to anybody that knows me, A Tribe Called Quest is my personal favorite rap group ever with Mobb Deep running at number 2. So I’m just going to speak from a personal place on this one.
Because I never get tired of saying it, The first rap album I bought was Midnight Marauders. With that said, there is a great chance that I don’t fall in love with the culture of hip-hop and it’s music if this album and this group doesn’t exist. This album made me a lyric listener. To this day I can still recite this album [tracks, beats, baselines, samples, lyrics, interludes and all] almost verbatim without the CD being on.
We often talk about classics and legends and who’s the G.O.A.T and in my personal opinion not enough respect is given to A Tribe Called Quest. They were the Kanye, Common, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Slum Village, Chance, Pharcyde, Little Brother, MURS and even Outkast before they existed.
Ali Shaheed Muhammad’s production alone spawned a whole different sound in the year 1990. A sound that many of the above acts and their producers have used or recreated. If you think about J Dilla, 9th Wonder, Kanye West, Pharrell and Nottz, they all carry an element of the Tribe sound.
The Tribe and Native Tongues crew were some of the originators of “different” “to the left” “they saying something” “they can really rhyme” and any other cliche things that many use today without saying it. That’s cultural impact. That’s Legendary, That’s classic.
Unfortunately, I never got a chance to see my favorite Rap Group live and in person. I’ve seen video of them and seen Q-Tip live, but I wanted to see the full Tribe, even Jarobi. That won’t happen, but I will never forget what this group and it’s music means to me and why I am the hip-hop head I am.
I’m all that and then some, Tall, Dark and Handsome, bust a nut inside your eye, to show you where I come from – RIP Phife Dawg