Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Artists Come Together to Pay Tribute to Phife Dawg

Artists gathered inside the Apollo Theater on Tuesday evening to pay tribute to the late Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest, who passed away on March 22 due to complications from diabetes.

Read: Rest in Beats Phife Dawg

His bandmates from Tribe along with Kanye West, Michael Rapaport, Andre 3000, Chuck D, The Roots, Busta Rhymes, D'Angelo all spoke or performed about the rapper born Malik Taylor, who passed at 45 years old.

Kanye said:

While there were many tears in the room, there were also revelations, like when Andre 3000 said that OutKast and Tribe once planned a collab album together.

Read: Remembering Phife Dawg

"I'm going to say some interesting news and some disappointing news at the same time. About a year or two ago, we were talking about doing a Tribe Called Quest and Outkast album. Yeah. For whatever reason, it did not happen. I don't want to let the time go by, because you never know. And that's one of the biggest things about regret. Whatever reason we didn't do it, it was on our plate and we just... let it go for our own personal reasons," he said.

Andre said it was Tribe who influenced him to become a rapper.

Listen: Tim Westwood Shares Rare Phife Dawg Freestyle

While many discussed how "The Five-Foot Assassin" influenced them, it was his Tribe bandmates that gave the deepest reflections.

Q-Tip said: "He left me with just appreciating what a real brother is 'cause I have my sister. I love my sister and we elbow and battle. But I love my sister. But he was my brother for real. He left me with what brotherhood is. He left me with what partnership is. He left me with what a highly creative relationship is. He left me with being able to be self-effacing 'cause that's what he was. He left that with all of us. He left us with a mountain of music."

It was Phife who convinced Q-Tip to start rapping when they were teens in St. Albans, Queens.

Listen to Our Essential Tribe Called Quest Playlist on Spotify

"That dude, yeah, he was a fighter, he was feisty, he was all of that. But like I told you, he fought for joy. He fought for that happiness. And for a long time, when we were coming up, I would fight for him because it's quite naturally that people wanted to pick on somebody they think it's small. He could definitely handle himself but I loved him and sometimes he would look at me like, "Man I can…" Like step back kind of thing," Tip added.

Ali Shaheed Muhammad said: "We'll miss him but if y'all carry that message of love in your life and mean it to the people, like I said, when I came in, I felt like it was judgement day because there's people I haven't seen in a long time and I think, "This is what it's gonna be, huh?" Lord. "Oh, you? I didn't offend you..." Oh. I didn't offend you so I'm like, "Ah man, okay. It's looking somewhat good?" I'm in a room full of people that I didn't offend, alright, maybe? But you never know that small, little thing. It could be that one person that you just really killed an opportunity to cleanse your soul. It ain't easy to love when you're in situations like the music business, ambitious. Have to sell your own, literal blood brother, pull out a pistol and put him in the ground type of business that we live in."

Watch a VINTAGE CLIP of Tribe Called Quest on Letterman in 1993

Jarobi told the crowd: "The most important thing: We got to hang and repair. These are music groups
and shit, which is bullshit. That's not what we are. That's our job. But more than anything, we're brothers. The person who Phife was or who he is and y'all know who the people here who he's touched. The one thing about him, he's an example of friendship, love, loyalty."

Just before the memorial service, Phife's family released his posthumous new single, "Nutshell," which was produced by the late J. Dilla. Take a look a the video, below: