I woke up to horrible news this morning: Malik ‘Phife Dawg’ Taylor, a member of one of my favorite rap groups, A Tribe Called Quest, had died in the wee hours of the morning. While cause of death is still unknown, it was a well-known fact that Phife had been dealing with Type 1 diabetes for some time now.
During my years in high school, Tribe’s stuff was some of my go to material. The way he flowed and delivered his lines, along with what he said was something you just didn’t hear anymore. Phife rapped about sports and made it sound cool, as opposed to other rappers who just rapped about getting fucked up, fucking “bitches” and the usual things rappers (still) rap about. Outside of the lyrics, Tribe brought a jazzy vibe to their music in a time where that was unheard of. Throw on any track and you will immediately hear that their songs are unlike anyone else’s. This is just one of the reasons that make ATCQ’s music timeless. I can be in any kind of mood and want to listen to their stuff, and that is something that doesn’t exist anymore.
So if you’ve never heard of A Tribe Called Quest, do yourself a favor and listen through some their critically acclaimed and commercially successful albums, especially The Low End Theory as well as Midnight Marauders. I promise you that you won’t be disappointed. It’s a refreshing sound and it never gets old.
RIP Phife Dawg