On Wednesday March 23rd, 2016 I woke up to discover I had suffered a loss. We had all suffered a loss. Phife Dawg of, arguably the culture’s greatest group, A Tribe Called Quest had passed away. When I first saw the tweets on my timeline I thought “damn” but then verses started playing in my head and my heart felt that “damn” then I started playing ATCQ songs and it really hit me. This was a real blow not just a fleeting bit of sad news, but a true loss that makes one sit and reflect. We lost an amazing MC.
As I strolled down memory lane with songs playing and reciting verses I recalled where I was and what my life was like that caused me to remember all Phife’s verses more than Q-tip’s. I never noticed that before. Song after song I’m rattling bars that I learned 20 years ago or more. Without hesitation. There I was, small, unknown, and affected by a man I’d never met. And I’m sure this was happening all over the world to countless others. Affected.
Did he feel this? Could he grasp how much he was loved while he was alive? Truly loved. Adored even. Can any one person comprehend how powerful they are to millions of people when they share their gift with millions of people? I don’t know. The things he said, that are imprinted on my brain, had he ever considered that? I did not even realize they were there until Wednesday morning. They are as much a part of me as much as my hands. His verses are a part of the collections of things that make-up the totality of me.
There was a part of me that considered not writing about Phife because in today’s world a week is light years away, and there are a plethora of pieces about his passing already strewn about. But I could not not write about it. It wouldn’t have been right. It was important to me to show some love. I hope he knows he was loved.