Q-Tip remembered his fellow A Tribe Called Quest member, “lifelong friend and day one homie” Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor during his Beats 1 show Abstract Radio Friday. For the two-hour episode, Q-Tip dipped into his own stash of live performances and tracks off the group’s recent Peoples’ Instinctive Travels And The Paths of Rhythm reissue, as well as broadcasted Phife Dawg tributes from artists like Kendrick Lamar, Public Enemy’s Chuck D, Souls of Mischief, Pharrell Williams, Just Blaze and Outkast’s Big Boi and Andre 3000. Click here to listen to Abstract Radio’s Phife Dawg tribute episode.
“Tribe Called Quest is everything, everything to me. There would not be no Outkast without [them], or if there was an Outkast, it wouldn’t be Outkast, it would be something completely different,” Andre 3000 said. “Tribe Called Quest was everything to me in high school. Just listening to Q-Tip run the verses and I remember just being really interested in vocabulary. He actually made me want to know more about words and use them as tools, words that you may not have even known before, he made it actually cool to use those words.”
Andre 3000 cited hearing Tribe’s “Jazz (We’ve Got)” as the moment he realized what kind of rapper he wanted to be. He also revealed that when he and Big Boi auditioned for Organized Noize, they rapped over an instrumental of Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario” remix. “It’s so crazy that Tribe was just so integral in what we were doing and what we are. Everything we ever wanted to be, we’d sit around and listen to them,” Andre 3000 said. “To this day, there’s no one greater than Tribe.”
Big Boi added, “[A Tribe Called Quest] were one of the primary reasons we even started Outkast. They were our idols back in the day. We had a chance to link up and get close over the past year or so, just kind of talking and getting to know one another; Phife actually came by the studio a little while ago, just vibed out, and he was an all-around cool guy, great person and he’ll forever be missed by the world and definitely myself.”
Lamar, who previously paid tribute to Phife Dawg during an Australia concert immediately following news of the rapper’s death, also called in to Abstract Radio to pay his respects. “Me being one of the new cats, all I could ever remember is me either listening to gangsta rap or Low End Theory, so it’s only right that I pay homage to Phife and the whole Tribe for birthin’ what I do on that microphone and what I do on that stage,” Lamar said.
“Going all the way back to the early Nineties, me being five or six years old, I remember my first time being acquainted to the legendary, you feel me? And it was a record by the name of ‘Scenario,'” Lamar added. “There was a program by the name of The Box, I played it all day, every day, the flow was crazy, the beat was crazy, the style was unique, but there was one particular line that stood out for me by my man Phife. He said, ‘I’m all that and then some, short dark and handsome Bust a nut inside your eye, to show you where I come from.’ I just thought that line was witty.” Lamar added that he felt a kinship to the “short, dark and handsome” Phife, since the To Pimp a Butterfly rapper is similarly undersized. “There’s many, many, many more, but that [line] was my first time ever being excited hearing Phife, and after that there was plenty more moments.”
Run the Jewels also used a portion of their own WRTJ to remember Phife Dawg, who died Tuesday at the age of 45.