A Man That Influenced a Culture…#RIPPHIFEDAWG of ATCQ
Today 3/23/2016 while driving to work very much like I was when I learned of one of best friends (Marrow Potts) untimely passing, I found out that the legendary Phife Dawg (aka The Funky Diabetic) lost his life. For years, Phife has struggled with complications brought on by diabetes and although an official statement of exactly how he died has yet to be released, it appears that he did in fact succumb to health related issues.
I did not know Phife personally however, one of my best friends, former group member and long time collaborator, Kareem Fort of Reem Works and former vice president of Hipnott Records did in fact know him personally. I spoke with my buddy Reem this morning, whom was devastated by the news of Phife’s passing and he told me how nice Phife was to him every time that they met. He also told me that Phife Dawg got to see and give a nod of approval to his film, (Demos: An Independent Artist’s Guide to Success) of which Maseed Productions had the honor of being apart of.
To acknowledge all of Phife’s accolades would require me to almost write a book so instead, I will share my personal story of how I was influenced by A Tribe Called Quest. I came up during the early 90s, a time commonly referred to as “The Golden Era of Hip-Hop”. It was a revolutionary time in that some of the biggest, groundbreaking acts that would go on to shape the culture as we know it were at the fore-front of the music industry. Whiles acts like NWA were also at the fore-front and breaking ground in a more “street” type of way, acts like A Tribe Called Quest did it in a way that the “non-hood” kid could relate to. They dressed, spoke, walked, and talked differently from every other act that was out at that time. They’re lyrics were care free, spiritual, cultivating, prolific, skillfully crafted and original. Anthems like “Can I Kick It”, “Check da’ Rhyme”, and “Bonita Applebum” are still relevant to this day. I owned every tape, (yeah, I said it…tape) that they ever put out. Being from the west coast during a time when gang violence and the urge to join one was on the rise, had it not been for ATCQ and their influence on my life, there’s no telling where I’d be. I feel that in large part, choosing to be into ATCQ and other hip-hop acts who shared that similar vibe, kept me out of the streets, away from gangs, out of trouble and focused on things more positive like getting an education and developing my skills in music.
ATCQ was composed of the illest MC duo to ever grace the mic: Q-Tip and Phife Dawg. Before them, no one in history could tag team a 16 with as much skill and poise as those two. Today 3/23/2016, the world has suffered a tremendous loss as he leaves behind his kids, family, friends and fans. It is with a heavy heart that I bid you Malik Taylor aka Phife Dawg a final farewell. May your soul eternally rest in paradise my brotha. You asked “Can you kick it?” and my response will always be “Yes you can!”Like it? Share it.