This past week has been a hard one for the hip-hop community, after losing a member of one of the best musical groups. Malik “Phife” Taylor of A Tribe Called Quest passed away this week at the age of 45 from diabetes complications.
Phife was the perfect counterpart to Kamaal Ibn “Q-Tip” John Fareed, with the smooth relaxed style of rapping. Along with the help of some high school friends, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White, Q-Tip and Phife formed A Tribe Called Quest in 1985.
Five years later the group released their debut album from Jive Records, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. The album featured singles “Bonita Applebum” and “Can I Kick It?” however ,after its’ release White left the group.
Can I kick it one of my favorite tracks from A Tribe Called Quest.
The song features a call and response between the two Phife and Q-Tip and the track really has a lot of flavor.
Phife forever 1970-2016. 1991 in Sept I went to visit Tariq at Millersville U in the middle of PA (Lancaster). Miles Davis had just passed & I went on a binge to study his post jazz works. Went to Sound Of Market to purchase Nefertiti, In A Silent Way & Live Evil—the only non jazz purchase I made that day ironically was the most jazziest album in that collection: #TheLowEndTheory by @ATCQ. —it was raining that day so somehow the 1…2 punch of "Nefertiti"/"Fall" just had me in a trance that train trip—even though I suspected there was a possibility that Tribe could possibly have made a better album then their debut (the perfect @@@@@ mic Source rating would be on stands in a week so I was right)—but I knew I wanted to save that listening for when I got up to the campus w Riq.—so some 90mins later when I get to his dorm–we ripped that bad boy open (I can't describe the frustration that was CD packaging in 1991, just imagine the anger that environmentalists feel when all that paper packaging in Beats headphone gets wasted—it's like that)—the sign of a true classic is when a life memory is burnt in your head because of the first time you hear a song. —Riq & I had this moment a few times, but the look on our faces when we 1st heard "Buggin Out" was prolly Me & Tariq's greatest "rewind selector!" moment in our friendship. (Back then every MC's goal was to have that "rewind!!!" moment. As in to say something so incredible. Or to catch you by surprise that it makes you go "DAAAAAYUM!!!"& you listen over & over—Malik "Phife" Taylor's verse was such a gauntlet/flag planting moment in hip hop. Every hip hop head was just…stunned HE. CAME. FOR. BLOOD & was taking NO prisoners on this album (or ever again) we just kept looking at the speaker on some disbelief old timey radio Suspense episode. & also at each other "Phife is KILLIN!"–by the time we got to "Scenario" I swear to god THAT was the moment I knew I wanted to make THIS type of music when I grew up–(yeah yeah dad I know: "go to Juilliard or Curtis to make a nice living at "real music") but he didn't know that Phife & his crew already wrote my destiny. I ain't look back since. THANK YOU PHIFE!
Fans and Celebs have been”Bugging Out” over the death of Phife. Shots from Quest Loves Instagram.
The experience of listening to The Low End Theory is beyond remarkable, released only a year after their first album. The tribes sophomore album is such a universally well-rounded album. Before I really knew what’s what in music, I knew this album was something special. I had seen the cover countless amount of times, the red and green lady always stood out to me and is instantly recognizable.
Topics on the album vary yet always remain real and relevant. The beats were stripped but kept the originality on the bass drums. Which is probably why The Low End Theory has and still receives critical acclaim.
Possibly one of the most quoted tracks from The Low End Theory is “Bugging out”
From Dante Ross Instagram.
My favorite track from The Low End Theory is “Check the Rhime.” It was the first song I had ever heard from A Tribe Called Quest. I wondered who these guys were and what were they attempting to kick?
The track is irresistibly good and a funky introduction of nice Phife Dawg is as he states in his verse. I really dig how Q-Tip and Phife flowed off each other on this track. The song doesn’t include profanity.
More celebs respond to the death of Phife via social media
CBC Music even released a Phife Dawg’s top 10 Best lyrics article.
Two years after the release of The Low End Theory A Tribe Called Quest released Midnight Marauders in 1993. The album would reach number 1 on the hip-hop charts and spawn off hits like “Electric Relaxation” to which helped A Tribe Called Quest enter the television world. The song was so hot it became the theme song for Marlon and Shawn Wayans hit Warner Brothers sitcom, The Wayans Bros.
More from Phife Dawg’s top 10 list.
Taylor was diagnosed with diabetes in 1990. He referred to his battle with diabetes “as an addiction to sugar that he was in denial about.” In 2008, he received a kidney transplant and just four short years later he required another kidney transplant. Another four years later and we’ve lost him. after 16 years of battling diabetes, the world lost him.
He will be remembered for his influence and spark. Most will remember the Five Footer for his clever and playful lyrical approach. However Q-Tip, remembers Phife for him pushing him towards music. Here Q-tip reveals to J.Period that Taylor is the one who inspired him to start rhyming.
“He’s the one that put it in me that I could rhyme cause he was always rhyming,” Q-tip said.
Leave a comment below telling me your favorite A Tribe Called Quest song or five footer verse.