Those who grew up listening to Q-Tip and Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest can recite their back-and-forth, call-and-response lyrics in their heads, like in the group’s famous “Check the Rhime” song.
“You on point, Tip?”
“All the time, Phife.”
Then there was the line where Phife riffed about people who thought they could deride Dawg because of his dark skin, but Q-Tip would set them straight in their more famous “Me, Myself and I” song. [Correction: Posdnuos, real name Kelvin Mercer, rhymed the following lyrics, as reported by Genius.]
“Glory Glory Hallelu
Glory for Plug One and Two
But that glory’s been denied
By concensing dookie eyes
People think they diss my person
By stating I’m darkly packed
I know this so I point at Q-Tip
And he states, ‘Black is Black'”
It was a loving, brotherly, and yet acrimonious relationship between Phife (Malik Taylor) and Q-Tip (Kamaal Ibn John Fareed), who can be seen in the above photo from July 14, 2013. Phife and Q-Tip were together in London as A Tribe Called Quest once more.
As seen in the documentary titled Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest, Phife and Q-Tip didn’t shy away from the troubles that caused A Tribe Called Quest to take time apart. After breaking up in 1993, the group members saddened their fans, who were once again happy to learn all the struggles behind the group’s breakup.
Phife was honest about his feelings, viewing Q-Tip as a selfish sort of person in some ways — a shocking revelation for Phife and Q-Tip, who knew each other since they were 2-year-olds. Jealousy and other feelings came into play as Phife’s health issues surfaced in the film. At one point, when Phife was in the hospital, it meant the world to him that Q-Tip reached out to make sure he was okay, despite all of their ongoing drama.
While Q-Tip went on to make up words and hits like “Vivrant Thing” during his solo career, Phife seemed to disappear into the ether.
They eventually celebrated 25 years since their debut album, “People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm,” hit airwaves and thrust the group into the spotlight as a sort of conscious movement of rap in the 1990s, with groups like Leaders of the New School and others giving a similar feel.
With news that Phife has died at the age of 45, as reported by Billboard, all eyes have turned to the social media pages of Q-Tip, wondering what he will say in response to the death.
There’s a reason why Googling “Phife and Q-Tip” automatically produces the word “beef” as a suggestion. All of their issues that were laid bare in the documentary seemed to be solved by the time Phife died. As such, the Instagram page of “Q-Tip the abstract” is being watched, with its 99 posts, 172,000 followers with no one that Q-Tip is following to see if Q-Tip will make a statement about Phife’s death therein.
This week on Abstract Radio Q-Tip dedicates the show to all women across the globe, in celebration of Women's History Month. Tune in as Q-Tip touches records from Erykah Badu, Missy Elliot, Grace Jones, Sade, Chaka Khan, Lauryn Hill and more! Join us at 10pm EST/7pm PST exclusively on #Beats1 #AppleMusic
The most recent Twitter tweet sent from Q-Tip’s Twitter account as of this writing predicted Leo DiCaprio’s Oscar win for The Revenant.
My bro 4 life @LeoDiCaprio will win that Oscar tonight .... That's a lock. Happy for my boy!!!!— QTip (@QtipTheAbstract) February 28, 2016
While Q-Tip might still be collecting his thoughts and dealing with what to write about Phife, a man likely as close and controversially attached as any real brother would be, fans have poured in their condolences to Q-Tip on losing Phife.
“RIP 5 feet of fury.”
“My condolences and prayers to you.”
“Very sorry for your loss. You guys meant the world to me growing up and shaped who I am. I just wished that one day I would have been able to see you guys perform live. Prayers to you and all the Native tongues.”
[Photo by Jonathan Short/Invision/AP, File]