If there’s any silver lining to be found in the untimely death of Malik Taylor, aka Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest; it’s surely to be found in the outpouring of love and affection for the rapper, his group and the trail that they blazed within the genre. On Tuesday night (April 5), luminaries from across the spectrum of music gathered at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, N.Y. to celebrate the Five Foot Assassin, who passed away March 22nd after a long battle with diabetes.
Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, KRS-One, Andre 3000, Chuck D, Grandmaster Flash, the Roots and D’Angelo were among those who honored Phife; with L.A. Reid, Lauryn Hill, LL Cool J and Dave Chappelle on-hand in the audience.
“Anything I ever did wrong, blame [Q-]Tip and Phife ‘cause y’all raised me,” West said in acknowledgment of the influence ATCQ had on him as an individual and recognizing “the power in this room” and that “Tribe made it so I could dress funny.” Andre 3000 revealed that there had been talks of a collaborative album between OutKast and A Tribe Called Quest.
A new Phife Dawg track produced by J. Dilla also debuted on the web. “Nutshell” was released overnight by Smokin’ Needles Records and is available to download via iTunes. The track is from an album that the rapper had been working on called Give Thanks. Fifty percent of the proceeds from the single will be donated to the American Diabetes Association and the National Kidney Foundation.