“Now here’s a funky introduction of how nice I am.
Tell your mother, tell your father, send a telegram.
I’m like an energizer ’cause, you see, I last long.
My crew is never ever wack because we stand strong.”
I DJed last night, got home late, but that didn’t matter because I’m a Dad. A four year old doesn’t care if Dad worked late. When he’s up, everyone is up. Zombie walk downstairs. Coffee being brewed, breakfast on the table. Turn the radio on. I hear “Check The Rhyme”, and think: “Damn, NPR is using classics for their bumper music.” Soterious Johnson then breaks the news. Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest has died at age 45. This one hits hard and close to home. Not since the death of MCA of the Beastie Boys has an artist from a band been so influential to me here at FleaMarket Funk as far as hip hop is concerned. The Low End Theory, hell, every Tribe record was important to us. The samples, the flow, the songs. They just reminded me of good times. College radio. Early DJing gigs in NYC with DJ Un-G. Going to see ATCQ open for the Beastie Boys in Philadelphia on a rotating stage. Going to the sold out premiere of the Tribe movie at the Sunshine Theater in NYC. It was a big blow this morning as I poured the coffee and reflected on an artist that was a year younger than me and what he left behind. Although it was just a small blurb this am on the radio, the shock waves have already been sent around the world. Social media is blowing up right now and for those who grew up on Tribe, my friends who worked with them, and the millions of fans who are mourning a member of one of the greatest hip hop groups of all time, I feel your pain. Although we may have lost Phife, we still have the music. We still have his rhymes. We still have the legacy of a man who impacted many more than he might have even known. From the first single with Tribe to his last solo 12″, the man had a huge contribution to hip hop music and the culture. So to that, we say Rest In Peace Malik Taylor aka Phife Dawg, Baby Phife, The 5 Foot Assassin, Phife Didog, and Muttty Ranks.