When A Part Of Your History Dies: RIP PHIFE DAWG

When A Part Of Your History Dies: RIP PHIFE DAWG

Some of my earliest hip hop memories feature A Tribe Called Quest. As a teenager, their take on hip hop was extremely appealing. Growing up on an island, America seemed a million miles away and hip hop was this huge, magnificent thing that spread it’s tentacles around the world. I was used to seeing hip hop artists on my screen, but ATCQ stood out, their hip hop wasn’t dark and moody, it was alive, happy and real. Looking from the outside in, ATCQ for stood for everything that I liked about hip. They were positive, without being preachy and the beats were second to none. Without ATCQ, there would probably be no Common, No Talib, No Mos Def, no Kanye.

That’s a big statement to make right, but hear me out. Tribe showed us that it was okay to be slightly different in our perception of hip hop. They could drop a crazy posse cut like “Scenario” and yet team up with Faith Evans on the vulnerable track “Stressed Out”. Where hip hop went right, groups like ATCQ and their Native Tongues affiliates De La Soul went left.

Being from the Caribbean, I was always fascinated by Phife Dawg. Here was a Trinidadian, who infused Jamaican slangs into his New York flow. He was diagnosed with Diabetes in the 90s and didn’t run from it, He was the self proclaimed “funky diabetic” His passing yesterday reminded me of the fragility of this thing called life and like so many artists before him, we mourn his passing.

In 2008, another person, my brother, the late Richard Antwi said to me that “legacy was important” – It didn’t mean much to me then, but it does now. The day we are born is the day we begin to die and we must pursue our passion in order to secure our legacy.

Phife’s legacy is untouchable


Jedi Master T

March 24th, 2016

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