This news truly sadden me and many other hip hop heads who loved this group. I couldn't believe it! This group was/is my favorite group! If you don't know who Phife or A Tribe Called Quest is then I would suggest that you get on google & on YouTube right now and start listening to their music & Phife's solo album! They made my early 90's so hot with the music that they were producing. I remember trying to stay up late with my sister to watch Video Music Box (Tri State area (NY, NY, CT) late night music show) to be able to see their video "The Scenario" drop. Man they had so many classic cuts that I use to vibe out to when I was young & I still vibe out on to this day. I couple of my favorite songs were "Oh My God", "Award Tour", The Scenario & The Scenario Remix", "Electric Relaxation", "Bonita AppleBum" & I cant forget about "Check The Rhyme". I have to say their greatest album to me was "The Low End Theory". The jazz mixed with hip hop music layered under those tight verses and the beautifully woven in words of black empowerment, love & positivity made me feel so alive. I feel that on this album both Phife & Q Tip got to shine in their own way with their own flow. The type of music that they were producing surely isn't out right now but we do see aspects of it in different areas of the US which gives us true hip hop heads some hope for the future.
But my hope for the future of hip hop doesn't necessarily lie in the music. My hope is that we as a community of hip hop fans & artists work very hard to learn from the messages that a lot of these artist who are passing away from health related issues are telling us. Many of them from Phife to Heavy D to Guru to Big Pun to Nate Dogg have died from cancer, complications of diabetes, & heart attacks. It saddens me to think that some of these health related issues could have been reversed or prevented with proper nutrition and just setting up health habits. Phife was once quoted talking about his longtime battle with diabetes in the 2011 documentary "Beats, Rhymes & Life". He said that "Like straight up drugs. I'm just addicted to sugar." Being health is something that many people battle with daily and for some it is a battle that they are constantly losing. My hope is that many people (not just rappers) will see this as a wake up call to get better control over their health. This year happens to be the introduction of the 10th Element of Hip Hop which will focus on Health & Wellness (click on the link to find out more info). What better way to make sure that our future generation of hip hop heads can grow up to be healthy & ready to rock the music scene without having to succumb to so many health related illnesses at such young ages. The longevity of hip hop doesn't just focus on the music but on how we can pass it onto future generations and we need to be in good health in order to do just that!
I gotta say that this news has me all up in my feelings. Phife will definitely be missed. My love & prayers go out to his family & to the hip hop community who are feeling this pain right now. In my book you were definitely on point Phife! Rest In Peace Phife!!!