Celebration was how friends, family, and fans of Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor spent the holiday weekend, which coincidentally included Resurrection Sunday, as the group mate of A Tribe Called Quest was honored with a bevy of notable tributes.
On Friday (March 25), Wiz Khalifa lit one up for the Five Foot Assassin via a remix to A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders track, “Electric Relaxation.” Over the classic cut, the Pittsburgh rhymer laced up lines like, “Let me tell you about my only vice / It has to do with lots of chronic and it ain’t nothing nice.”
Another tribute came from a touching note shared by Busta Rhymes, a partner-in-rhyme and longtime friend of Phife, on Instagram. The moving post featured the Leaders of the New School rapper reminiscing on the now-legendary concert performance last year, that saw he and all of the members of ATCQ and LOTNS performing “Scenario.”
“Ever since that concert I have had the opportunity to spend time with Phife way more than I have been able to in over 10yrs,” he wrote. “I’ve known this man for over 28yrs and I think I’ve seen him in the last 4 months the happiest that I’ve seen him in a very long time [sic].” The rest of the heartwarming letter appears below.
On their Beats 1 Radio program, WRTG, Run the Jewels’ Killer Mike and El-P also paid a touching tribute, stating that Phife “will live forever in our rhymes.”
But among the many dedications that continue to pour, the biggest was done by Q-Tip, who dedicated an entire two-hour mix on his Beats 1 radio show to his fellow ATGQ comrade. Featuring live versions of songs like “Oh My God” along with blends and deep cuts, the show provided this weekend with the ultimate soundtrack (and testament) to Phife’s undying legacy. “The world lost Phife, but Phife himself actually gained the universe,” said Pharrell in one of many recorded drops that played throughout the show. “Fife actually came by the studio a little while ago and just kind of vibe out… a great person. He’ll definitely be missed by the world, and definitely myself and my family,” shared Big Boi.
Kendrick Lamar appeared on the show as well, stating, “Me being one of the new cats, all I can remember is either listening to gangster rap or Low End Theory. So it’s only right that I pay homage to Phife and Tribe. If I go back to being five, six years old, I remember being acquainted with the legendary, and it was a record by the name of “Scenario.” The flow was crazy, the beat was crazy, but one line stuck out out me in particular the…the line in particular: ‘I’m all that and then some short dark and handsome / Bust a nut inside your eye, to show you where I come from.’
André 3000, one of the many guests, chimed in with the following:
“A Tribe Called Quest is everything, everything to me,” he said. “There will not be no Outkast without A Tribe Called Quest…. I remember me and Big Boi were out trying to get a deal and become Outkast. We went through a few managers and producers to come up and be something, and our last stop on the trip was to see Organized Noize. We went up to his job and we went out to his car…he actually pulled out A Tribe Called Quest cassette…and that’s what we used to rhyme over. So when we met Organized Noize, that was our first demo off what we could do. We just let the tape go and just rapped, no choruses or nothing. We were just rapping rapping rapping rapping in the parking lot. It’s so crazy that Tribe was so integral in what we’re doing and what we are and anted to be. We’d sit around and listen to it and feel special. A lot of kids in our high school weren’t listening to Tribe. Even though they were on TV it was like a prejudice kind of thing..some people in our HS felt like we were the weirdos cause we listened to Tribe and De La and Puba. Yeah it was like ‘it’s us….’ I think everything they presented to use, form the visuals to the sound which, to this day, man there’s no one greater than Tribe, period. We can have all the discussions you want to, it don’t matter.”
In addition to the praises and tributes, a petition is going out to rename Linden Boulevard, between 192 Street and 193 Street, in Queens to “A Tribe Called Quest Boulevard.” As of this writing, about 3,384 signatures has been made with a goal set at 5,000. When it reaches its goal, the petition will be brought to Council member I. Daneek Miller and Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who make the final decision.