We learned on Wednesday morning the sad news that founding member of A Tribe Called Quest, Malik Taylor aka ‘Phife Dawg’ had passed away at the young age of 45. Now, I personally don’t have a long history of listening to Tribe, and I understand that the group influenced an entire generation of hip-hop artists and means so much to so many people. I was actually shocked to see my Facebook news feed filled with people I’d never have pinned to have been so into Tribe with their tributes to Phife, which is a testament to just how universally influential the group was for music fans of all kinds.
For what it’s worth, this is what A Tribe Called Quest means to me:
I was introduced to the group by my best friend in college. The year we spent listening to Anthology every night while me and my roommates practiced our beer pong skills were some of my best and most vivid memories of that time. We’d put on Tribe every night, and then when we had friends over for tournaments, we’d play the same tunes and it almost felt like a home field advantage. The music was so original, simple and easy to listen to and vibe to. Those songs spread out a sort of security blanket in our house, like everything was right in the world. When we had a case of Keystone open and Tribe was on the stereo, we were winning. And I plan to continue winning to the sounds of Phife and the rest of A Tribe Called Quest for years to come. Please, if you haven’t yet, indulge in some of my favorite Tribe tracks on the playlist here. You won’t regret it.