It’s been reported that Malik Isaac Taylor aka Phife Dawg – one of the founding members of A Tribe Called Quest – passed away March 23, 2016. Phife Dawg, affectionately known as “Phifer,” had been battling health issues stemming from living with Type 1 Diabetes.
A Tribe Called Quest celebrated the 25th anniversary of their 1990 first released album People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm, by releasing a re-mastered version and performing live on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon together for the first time since 2013. The remastered album incorporates some artists that were influenced by ATCQ, with a remixes of “Bonita Applebum” by Pharrell and “Can I Kick It?” by J. Cole. A Tribe Called Quest was more than a hip-hop group, they were a musical movement. Let’s explore the historical significance the group has made on music.
A Tribe (people: linked by, united by) Called Quest consisted of four individuals from Queens, N.Y. Phife Dawg, an avid sports fan, the master lyricist with a small frame, and a big voice. Q-Tip, an astute music fan whose album-hunting hobby made him a vinyl musician and producer. Ali Shaheed Muhammad, the “DJ,” producer, mixologist, and calming peace, Jarobi, a rapper, but more importantly, the spirit of the group. Four very different men bound by hip-hop.
They were musicians without traditional instruments. Q-Tip mastered loops of rhythms/sounds using drum beats of jazz musicians and operatic notes from people like Minnie Riperton to create the back drop music for, at the time, an unconventional style of flow. They were structured by legends to become legends. The Jungle Brothers allowed Q-Tip to shine through them, then connected A Tribe Called Quest to their uncle, DJ Red Alert, who exposed them to the airwaves. Daring to do what had not yet been done artistically, they broke the norm and creatively paid homage to music that may not have been popular to that generation.
A Tribe Called Quest (the search for) were Neo-Soul before there was such a genre. Their mix of soul, funk, boogie, and jazz, along with their Afrocentric look, inspired a new trend and creativity in rappers such as Queen Latifah, Monie Love, Common, Pharrell, and legendary band The Roots. Their hit singles “Can I Kick It?” and “Bonita Applebum” have been sampled over 30 times by rappers/music groups such as, The Fugees, Jay Z, B.o.B, Total, and Yo-Yo, to name a few. Understanding that music wasn’t meant to be one thing, they presented a place where R&B and hip-hop would not be segregated.
A Tribe Called Quest is a collective effort that understands the importance of their combined unity, as well as respects each other’s individual endeavors. They have done what is almost unheard of and that is no matter what, either perform as an original unit, or not at all. One band, one sound. The music business put food on their table, but the MUSIC feeds their souls, which made them great.
Check out the video below of the 25th anniversary of People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm with Phife performing live, plus a special mix below.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty
Phife Dawg Through The Years
1. Q-Tip and Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest perform as part of the Smokin Grooves Tour at Shoreline Amphitheatre on September 1, 1996.Source:Getty 1 of 15
2. Q-Tip and Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest perform as part of Lollapalooza 1994 at Shoreline Amphitheatre.Source:Getty 2 of 15
3. Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest during Rock the Bells Concert - August 6, 2006 at Sleep Train Pavilion in Concord, California.Source:Getty 3 of 15
4. Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest performs as part of Rock the Bells 2010 at Shoreline Amphitheatre on August 22, 2010 in Mountain View, California.Source:Getty 4 of 15
5. Q-Tip and Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest perform during the 7th Annual Rock The Bells festival on Governors Island.Source:Getty 5 of 15
6. Phife at the 'Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest' Premiere at the Temple Theater during the 2011 Sundance Film Festival on January 22, 2011 in Park City, Utah.Source:Getty 6 of 15
7. Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest attends SPiN Decision Makers Panel With Hype Williams presented by Bing on January 23, 2011 in Park City, Utah.Source:Getty 7 of 15
8. Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest visits the Tribeca Film Festival 2011 portrait studio on April 27, 2011.Source:Getty 8 of 15
9. Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Jarobi White attend the Los Angeles Premiere of 'Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest' After Party on June 24, 2011.Source:Getty 9 of 15
10. Phife Dawg and Q-Tip perform onstage at the 2012 BET Hip-Hop Awards at Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center on September 29, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.Source:Getty 10 of 15
11. Q-Tip and Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest perform on the main stage on day 3 of the Yahoo! Wireless Festival at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on July 14, 2013 in London.Source:Getty 11 of 15
12. Phife of A Tribe Called Quest performs at 2013 H2O Music Festival at Los Angeles Historical Park on August 17, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.Source:Getty 12 of 15
13. Phife Dawg and Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest perform at Univision Radio's H2O music festival at Los Angeles state historic park on August 17, 2013.Source:Getty 13 of 15
14. Phife Dawg performs for the #BigTicket showcase at Tattoo on February 6, 2015 in Toronto, Canada.Source:Getty 14 of 15
15. Phife Dawg and Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest perform during Hot 97's 'Busta Rhymes And Friends: Hot For The Holidays' concert at Prudential Center on December 5, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey.Source:Getty 15 of 15
A Tribe Called Quest: It Takes A Village To Raise A Tribe In Music was originally published on globalgrind.com