No Batteries Included And No Strings Attached
March 23, 2016 4:54 AM   Subscribe

Hip Hop lost a great today. Phife Dawg, of A Tribe Called Quest, has died. Far too soon.
posted by SinisterPurpose (88 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Kick in peace.
posted by sapagan at 5:10 AM on March 23, 2016


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posted by rye bread at 5:12 AM on March 23, 2016


Yes you can.

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posted by pwally at 5:13 AM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Fun facts:

- Never half-stepped (was not a half-stepper).
- Drank a lot of soda so they called him Dr. Pepper.

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posted by GamblingBlues at 5:17 AM on March 23, 2016 [31 favorites]


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posted by sarcas at 5:17 AM on March 23, 2016


Wow. That is so sad. I had no idea his health was that bad. He made vital contributions to a bunch of great tunes.
Rest in peace.
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posted by threecheesetrees at 5:18 AM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


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More props than the Arsenio Hall show
posted by DigDoug at 5:18 AM on March 23, 2016


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posted by thivaia at 5:30 AM on March 23, 2016


Now if my partners don't look good, Malik won't look good
If Malik don't look good, then Quest won't look good
If the Quest don't look good, then Queens won't look good
But since the sounds are universal, New York won't look good
posted by ardgedee at 5:32 AM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


His aura was positive and he didn't promote no junk.
See, he was far from a bully and he wasn't a punk.

He'll be sorely missed.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 5:33 AM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]




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posted by dr_dank at 5:44 AM on March 23, 2016


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posted by Cash4Lead at 5:56 AM on March 23, 2016


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posted by Bob Regular at 5:56 AM on March 23, 2016


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posted by Radiophonic Oddity at 5:57 AM on March 23, 2016


People love the Dawg like the kids love Barney-
"I love you, you love me."
The shorty Phife Dawg is your favorite MC...

posted by Bob Regular at 5:58 AM on March 23, 2016


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posted by zombieflanders at 5:58 AM on March 23, 2016


Damn.
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posted by metasav at 5:58 AM on March 23, 2016


Ad supported, but streaming version of the documentary on the band.
Beats, Rhymes & Life on Crackle (probably US only)
posted by DigDoug at 6:02 AM on March 23, 2016 [8 favorites]


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posted by dudemanlives at 6:04 AM on March 23, 2016


1992. Me with my headphones in the waaay back of my parents' '78 VW minibus on our way to Panama City Beach and The Low End Theory on my Discman. Alligator farms and Indian River orange stands gliding by. The sound of that album and my paradigm shifting...DAMN, RIP Phife Diggy. Mourn ya 'til I join ya.
posted by Bob Regular at 6:06 AM on March 23, 2016 [10 favorites]


Huh. Apparently Lou Reed got all the money from Can I Kick It?.
"I remember with [record label] Jive, there was a problem with the sample being cleared," Phife recalls. "I don't think they cleared the sample, and instead of Lou Reed saying, 'You can't use it,' he said, 'Y'all can use it, but I get all the money from that.'" Phife says Reed took 100 percent of the royalties and publishing and "to this day, we haven't seen a dime from that song."

Looking back on the 25th anniversary of the album and its current reissue, Phife doesn't begrudge Reed for his shrewd business acumen. "I'm grateful that [the song] kicked in the door, but to be honest, that was the label's fault," the rapper says. "They didn't clear the sample. And rightfully so. It's his art; it's his work. He could have easily said no. There could have easily been no 'Can I Kick It?' So you take the good with the bad. And the good is, we didn't get sued. We just didn’t get nothing from it."
posted by zamboni at 6:07 AM on March 23, 2016 [8 favorites]


My days of paying dues are over
acknowledge me as in there
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posted by the painkiller at 6:14 AM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


zamboni: Record company people are shady.
posted by DigDoug at 6:15 AM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


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posted by Rock Steady at 6:16 AM on March 23, 2016


“This feeling of embarrassment
This shyness and bashfulness…
If you take that out of the people then these people will do whatever they want to do
And that is the very definition of America. A people who have no shame and therefore do whatever they want to do."


This unattributed quote from the end of Phoney Rappers (one of Phife's grittiest realest rhymes) embodies Phife's spirit. He spoke about himself and his struggles in a way that almost nobody did in the 90s, and set the stage for honest self-deprecating rappers like Em and POS and Kayne. But more than that, he was a innovative stylist whose canvas was collaboration with Q. Where Q was all internal rhymes and broken couplets and enjambment, Phife dealt in space and syncopation. On Oh My God (my favorite track of his) he calmly kicks his second verse off with a stolen phrase "1 for the treble, 2 for the bass" then pauses, "You know the style Tip, it's time to flip this", veering from the standard couplet into a chill imitation of his partner. But then the next 2 lines are pure muscle: I like my beats hard like two day old shit / Steady eating booty MCs like cheese grits". Like James Brown said every instrument is a drum, and Phife's instrument was raspy fulfilling lines that stick in your consciousness like food on your ribs, taking rapping back to its root in West Indian toasting that flowed unstoppable over the beat, that was in the beat, indistinguishable from the beat. Tip by himself is just a wandering needy intricate brain. Phife's craft was to made every song perfect, getting to the point in the chillest way.

And a middle finger goes for all you punk MCs.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:21 AM on March 23, 2016 [41 favorites]


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posted by mubba at 6:24 AM on March 23, 2016


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posted by p3t3 at 6:29 AM on March 23, 2016


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Damnit.
posted by cashman at 6:31 AM on March 23, 2016


Styles upon styles upon styles is what he had.

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posted by Perplexity at 6:31 AM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Aww, jeez. This is no good.

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posted by Ipsifendus at 6:32 AM on March 23, 2016


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posted by -t at 6:34 AM on March 23, 2016



posted by Smart Dalek at 6:35 AM on March 23, 2016


Well, phuck.

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posted by echocollate at 6:37 AM on March 23, 2016


You on point, Phife?

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posted by pianoblack at 6:47 AM on March 23, 2016


This unattributed quote from the end of Phoney Rappers (one of Phife's grittiest realest rhymes) embodies Phife's spirit.

It's been attributed to Farrakhan, though that's apocryphal.
posted by blucevalo at 6:49 AM on March 23, 2016


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posted by mcdoublewide at 6:51 AM on March 23, 2016


Fuck diabetes, fuck sugar. I say that as an addict myself.

"Electric Relaxation," "God Lives Through," "Jazz (We've Got)" ...... that's just for starters ...... nothing on wax can compare.

RIP.
posted by blucevalo at 6:57 AM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


You'd be a fool to reply that Phife is not the man.

This one is hard, hard, hard. Tribe Called Quest was a ground shift, a revelation in the early 90s in the same way Kendrick Lamar is today. Just pure genius and energy and light shone in dark corners. Gone too soon, peace to the five foot assassin.
posted by donnagirl at 7:03 AM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


This one really hurts. ATCQ (along with Leaders of the New School) were the bridge that took 13-year-old me from just being a Beasties fan over to full hip-hop fandom.

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posted by Ufez Jones at 7:07 AM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Chris Read did some good ATCQ mixtapes. So have DJ Platurn and DJ Muro.
posted by box at 7:17 AM on March 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


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posted by pipoquinha at 7:19 AM on March 23, 2016


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posted by littlerobothead at 7:25 AM on March 23, 2016


RIP Five Foot Assassin. The Funky Diabetic.
posted by soakingbook at 7:41 AM on March 23, 2016


Trini Gladiator, anti-hesitator

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posted by benbenson at 7:46 AM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


went to carville to get a milkshake...

https://twitter.com/mrdaveyd laying it out...
posted by brainimplant at 7:49 AM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


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posted by coolname at 8:07 AM on March 23, 2016


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posted by me3dia at 8:09 AM on March 23, 2016


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posted by dlugoczaj at 8:23 AM on March 23, 2016


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posted by cazoo at 8:31 AM on March 23, 2016


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posted by lord_wolf at 8:32 AM on March 23, 2016


I'm tired of this bullshit year.
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posted by dis_integration at 8:37 AM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


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posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 8:44 AM on March 23, 2016


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posted by not_the_water at 8:44 AM on March 23, 2016




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posted by geekigirl at 9:08 AM on March 23, 2016


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posted by vverse23 at 9:13 AM on March 23, 2016


One of my faves of his, often overlooked because it was part of the kinda disappointing Love Movement album, is His Name is Mutty Ranks. Also one of his solo songs, Flawless, where it became pretty clear to anyone that Tribe was done. It is...not kind to Q-Tip, but it's really good.

This guy is a legend. RIP
posted by Hoopo at 9:28 AM on March 23, 2016 [3 favorites]


dammit

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posted by Bacon Bit at 9:41 AM on March 23, 2016


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posted by Lyme Drop at 9:42 AM on March 23, 2016


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posted by hap_hazard at 10:06 AM on March 23, 2016


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posted by Joey Michaels at 10:14 AM on March 23, 2016


Man, the sugars. Weird seeing that Dilla was gonna produce his solo drop, since both of them are now dead from different kidney shit.

While definitely post-prime, glad I got to see these guys at Lollapalooza back in the day.
posted by klangklangston at 10:16 AM on March 23, 2016


I can't remember the last time a celebrity death has made me cry real tears.

ATCQ, Tip, Phife, Ali Shaheed. These brothas provided the soundtrack to my youth.

I can't take these hip-hop legends breaking my heart like this. Too much. Too soon.

You on point, Phife? All the time, Tip.

RIP, Malik.
posted by nubianinthedesert at 10:25 AM on March 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


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posted by praemunire at 10:38 AM on March 23, 2016


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posted by KillaSeal at 10:57 AM on March 23, 2016


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posted by supermassive at 11:24 AM on March 23, 2016


I forgot to mention at the top that one of my favorite Phife Dawg moments was him lending his credibility to the Fu-Schnickens on La Schmoove. Now that you got what'cha want, do you want more? He had more in store.
posted by SinisterPurpose at 11:30 AM on March 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh goddamn

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posted by sektah at 12:48 PM on March 23, 2016


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posted by Lesser Spotted Potoroo at 1:08 PM on March 23, 2016


RIP... There was no shame in your game.

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posted by missmobtown at 1:32 PM on March 23, 2016


I hope he reconciled with Q-Tip before passing. There was a very real hostility between the two of them that made the Beats, Rhymes and Life documentary hard to watch for me.
posted by reenum at 1:38 PM on March 23, 2016


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posted by motty at 2:08 PM on March 23, 2016


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posted by cell divide at 2:10 PM on March 23, 2016


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posted by Ironmouth at 2:18 PM on March 23, 2016


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posted by pandalicious at 2:29 PM on March 23, 2016


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posted by likeatoaster at 2:53 PM on March 23, 2016


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posted by pogo at 3:24 PM on March 23, 2016


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posted by CommonSense at 4:16 PM on March 23, 2016


Goddammit, y'all.

During uni, I interned on a show where Tribe were the musical guests one night. The taping had to be delayed by a half hour because Phife was having an insulin-related episode. He had what he needed with him, the assistants were quick to get his insulin to him, and Tribe went on shortly thereafter (almost) as if nothing had happened.

I hadn't any idea before seeing this how serious and dangerous diabetes was. My grandfather had had it, and he managed it, so it seemed more like a benign thing. Diabetes is no joke.


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posted by droplet at 4:47 PM on March 23, 2016


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posted by baniak at 5:51 PM on March 23, 2016


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posted by hyperizer at 6:22 PM on March 23, 2016


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posted by dubitable at 7:35 PM on March 23, 2016




Tribe was the best. He will be missed.
posted by persona au gratin at 12:44 AM on March 24, 2016


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posted by Minus215Cee at 2:06 AM on March 24, 2016


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posted by cwarmy at 9:46 AM on March 24, 2016


Jay Smooth's Underground Railroad radio show is doing a tribute tomorrow night.
posted by box at 7:40 PM on March 24, 2016


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