November 20, 2021

Happy Born Day, Phife Dawg! (Playlist)

"By the way, my name's Malik, the Five-Foot Freak / Let's say we get together by the end of the week / She simply said, "No", labelled me a ho / I said, "How you figure?" "My friends told me so" / I hate when silly groupies wanna run they yap / Word to God, hon, I don't get down like that..." When fans mention underrated, the name Phife Dawg doesn't come up nearly as often as you might expect, but when Phife came back swinging on Buggin' Out, with: "Yo, microphone check one two what is this The five foot assassin' with the ruff neck business...", Phife put the whole industry on alert. I feel so honored to have grown up in the Golden Era, to have experienced all the great music firsthand. The anticipation... the excitement... the experience of enjoying albums as they were intended. From "The Low End Theory" to "Midnight Marauders," I can't explain what these albums meant to me as a kid. It's that feeling that literally defines my childhood in sound. Seeing the documentary "Beats, Rhymes & Life" (and actually being in the film if you look VERY closely), made me feel kinda sad and De La Soul summed that up in their sentiment about how they'd rather the group just disband than carry on how they were behind the scenes. The passing of Phife left a void and yet, when they overdelivered on We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service it was a second chance; it erased those few negative memories and left us with nothing short of excellence. It's understated what Q-Tip accomplished with that album and how the heart -- that was always embodied by Jarobi -- shined through. Gang Starr was always my favorite group, because I look at DJ Premier as a god (a true living legend!), but the Queens kid in me always had the biggest heart for A Tribe Called Quest. Ya on point, Phife? All the time... Rest In Peace, Phife! He would've celebrated his 51st b-day today. Below is a brief playlist with some of my favorite ATCQ/Phife jams...

We miss you, Phife! Rest In Peace.