The Wisdom of Phife Dawg

Phife Dawg of Tribe Called Quest

Good evening folks.  As you no doubt know by now, Phife Dawg of the legendary hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest passed away. He was 45. We have seen more than a few tributes, and folks have been sharing many songs and moments they capture for them.

This is going to be an “old head” type of post, not a “trying to explain” Tribe to those who don’t know of them. Hearing the news, when I woke up this morning was hard. ATCQ had the run of the 1990’s, with a sound that was laid back. Whether it was “Award Tour” or “Electric Relaxation” Tribe got radio play and acclaim without trying to prove they were “hard”. They were just honest.

Phife Dawg had some quotables in so many songs, y’all. Lines like he “likes em Brown, Yellow, Puerto Rican and Haitian” repped the appreciation of diverse women before Wu-Tang’s “Ice Cream”. Word. Also, on the song “Oh My God” Phife rapped about his crush on Dawn Robinson. That’s so honest, because so many guys felt the same way. If you say you didn’t, stop lying.

So many gems, as some of us said back in the day.

On recognition: “I never let a statue tell me how nice I am” A lesson we could all use today in light of the “diversity” issues in Hollywood.

On defining who is that dude: “Bo don’t know jack, cause Bo can’t rap” Those were some harsh bars. Ha. That line probably made athletes like Shaq and Deion Sanders try their hand at hip hop.

Whether it was checking wack emcees or cleverly playing on the brand name “Seamen’s furniture” Phife had some funny, and relatable lines. I could keep going, but you get the point. You can’t even really discuss hip hop in the 90’s if you don’t know Tribe joints. Over the course of five albums, ATCQ established themselves in a rap game and prospered as an alternative to so called “gangsta rap” Back in 96 (20 years ago, dang!)when “Beats, Rhymes and Life” came out, the die hard fans liked it, but it wasn’t like the first three. Thinking of all that music, it just makes me miss that era of rap. A lot of us had no idea how good we had it musically. It’s crazy that Phife who was part of such a legendary group is gone now. He contributed a lot to the culture. May he rest in peace.

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