“I hear everybody making it seem like there was a lot of problems in the group during this time. I hear Phife and them talking about how there was all these issues during Beats, Rhymes and Life. But the issues weren’t really that dire. If they were they weren’t brought to my attention. If Tribe was really breaking up we wouldn’t have been able to make this album. One issue might have been that there was a new dynamic in the group because we had J Dilla (late groundbreaking, celebrated producer and musical mastermind behind Slum Village) producing on some songs and Consequence on some tracks.
But the biggest thing that definitely weighed on that album was my conversion to Islam. It made the atmosphere much more serious. I was really ardent about my practice. Seeing me pray in the studio definitely made Phife feel a little uncomfortable. But it was never a he hates me, I hate him conflict. I think that’s been overblown. The conflicts were all around the changing dynamics of the group. But I was never bringing Consequence in to take Phife’s place. He was my little cousin who lived next door. He always wanted to rap and I was just giving him that opportunity to see how it felt to ride the big boy bike.
My thing with Jay Dee (Dilla) was I just really wanted people to hear his sound, his genius, and his approach to music. He definitely had some things that I would have done, but he took them to the 10th power. I was like, ‘Man, people have to hear him.’ I would tell De La about him. I would tell Mobb Deep about him…I would tell Common about him. Beats, Rhymes and Life was a showcase for Dilla.”