So it’s been almost a year since I’ve published anything, and a few days since the passing of Malik Taylor aka Phife Dawg. At the time of his passing I posted that A Tribe Called Quest is my favorite hip hop group of all time. To figure out how I got to this point I’ll have to give you
some a lot of background.
Growing up in Atlanta in the early to mid-eighties, the only time you would actually hear hip hop on the radio was “The Fresh Party” on V-103 (WVEE) on Friday nights from 9 p.m. – midnight. I remember we were at my cousin Brian’s house on a Friday night and he hipped me to it. In those early days, there was a ton of Run DMC, UTFO – “Roxanne, Roxanne”, “Planet Rock” by Soulsonic Force, “Jam On It” by Newcleus and so on. I remember my first time listening to “The Fresh Party” and thinking man, I gotta tape this. That next Friday night I was sitting by my mom’s stereo with a tape and my hand on the record button. I was hooked. Instantly.
As my love affair with this new form of music grew, I was always looking for the newest, freshest deffest songs released. When Rap City or Yo! MTV Raps were on the air, I was parked in front of the boob tube. At some point Georgia State University student radio started a program called “Rhythm and Vibes” (on 88-5) that aired Sunday nights when I was in high school. I remember hearing cuts from De La Soul’s “De La Soul Is Dead” album for the first time on this show (still one of my favorite albums of all time). At some point I saw the video for “Jazz (We’ve Got) – Buggin’ Out.” My mind was blown. It was just a smooth (like me) laid back track over a jazz loop. I was really feeling it. The entire video was in black and white and then… Phife busts on the scene with his verse from “Buggin’ Out” and I flipped out. It was so hype! Yeah jammin’ so jammin’ – cue the skits on “De La Soul Is Dead” 😀
When I arrived on the campus of Iowa State University in the summer of 1992, that CD was one of the first I bought. “The Low End Theory” was in heavy rotation. “Buggin’ Out”, “Check The Rhime”, “Scenario”?!!!! Awwwww mannnn!!!! This was the business. When “Midnight Marauders” hit the shelves I remember buying that one as soon as I could. ‘My lips is like a Oo-wop as I start to spray it.'”Beats, Rhymes & Life” was one that I picked up early as well. “The Jam” is one that had me rolling. “Stressed Out” with Faith on the hook. Everything they released I was all about it. When “The Love Movement” was released I didn’t pick it up right away ($ was tight) but it still had some gems.
Back to last Tuesday when the news broke I was shocked. Crushed. Later that day I caught “Beats, Rhymes & Life:The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest” on Crackle. I had never seen the doc. At the time of its release it wasn’t playing anywhere near me and I never saw it on any video format (other than the bootleggers). It was an enlightenment. I knew about Phife’s diabetes, but I had no idea about the strife with Phife and Tip. That did, however get me to thinking about how I deal with my diabetes. It was June of 2000 that I was diagnosed and I had some early success with maintenance. Lately my control has not been as well as it should. I am still confessing my healing, but I still have to do what I know I should in the meantime.
Checking my sugar right now.
R.I.P. Phife Dawg
A little something from diggin’ in the crates…