A Dawg Named Phife: A Tribe Called Quest
I recall in March, earlier this year, rising out of a pool in the Dominican Republic and checking my phone to see the news of the passing of Phife Dawg, founding member of A Tribe Called Quest. It was such a surreal moment because those of you like myself, A Tribe Called Quest was a staple in my youth. I was partially raised by ATCQ, from the introductory theme song of the Wayans Brothers TV Show to "Scenario" with Busta Rhymes or even pretending to leave my wallet in "El Segundo", which I still can't locate on a map. It all still has meaning to me, even in adulthood. Some things we hold dearly we always have this unbelievable idea that these particular things will live forever or should be immortalized.
Well, fast forward 8 months later, the remaining members of A Tribe Called Quest: Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed, and Jarobi, have made sure to give us more of the 5-foot assassin, better known as Phife Dawg, and occasionally as Malik the 5-foot freak. The new album awesomely titled We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service is filled with nostalgic moments of what seems to be pages gently ripped out of Midnight Marauders and Beats Rhymes and Life compositions. The group, despite missing one of its founding members, hasn't lost a beat.
The first song on the album is "The Space Program" and it really made me feel like they revived a new season of the Wayans Brothers, and this song was the second half of "Electric Relaxation". I felt four years old again. One track in and I'm already reliving my memories of the 90's. Another stand out track is the Elton John sampled, "Solid Wall of Sound". This record is so refreshing. This sample is melodic and catchy as hell. Q-Tip's talent prevails in this record but it wasn't solely his efforts that gave this record the edge, "sonically". It was the combination of, frequent collaborator Busta Rhymes, Phife Dawg, Q-Tip and the entire cast of ATCQ. Hearing Phife Dawg and Kendrick on "Conrad Tokyo" and Q-Tip vs Andre 3000 on "Kids", really shows how formidable the Tribe really is against today's current artists. If youth was on their side, they can really make a run for reinvention during today's musical acts. I will refrain from spoiling the entire album but it is worth the market price, like come on, it's The Tribe y'all!
For my real music heads that know the Beats, Rhymes and Life-style, this one is beyond worth a listen. This new Tribe album picks up right where the team left off with the "Love Movement". As we still mourn and immortalize Phife Dawg, it's safe to say A Tribe Called Quest has "Found A Way" to continue living legendary.