Since the moment I heard of the passing of A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg earlier this week, I, like so many others, have spent a lot of time revisiting Tribe’s catalogue. For me, hearing their two undisputed classics, 1991’s The Low End Theory and 1993’s Midnight Marauders were complete revelations. Never before had I hung on every single word an MC put forth as I did with Phife and his partner-in-rhyme Q-Tip — hearing a new knockout phrase with every subsequent listen, I became infatuated with their lyrical skill and playfulness.
Already a jazz enthusiast, I also became interested in the many, many recordings that ultimately found themselves sampled on ATCQ tracks via their great DJ and producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Continue reading →