A pivotal member of the group, Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor passed away in March from diabetic complications, leading some to think we’d never hear from the group again. Now, the time is here.
Q-Tip pens that even though they started with the 5 Foot Assassin on the album and lost him in the midst, “He left us with the Blue Print of what we had to do.”
The then-trio hit the studio following their first televised performance in 18 years on the The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, alongside The Roots, in light of the re-release of the ATCQ’s People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm for its 25th anniversary. While this also marked their first performance in close to two decades, it also marked their last as a trio.
Tip reminded us that the night of their performance was the same night of the Paris bombings that occurred in November 2015. What he describes as an unseasonably warm night in NYC, in addition to the energy they felt performing and the adjoint tragedy, was the spark that started the fire in the tribe and brought them to the studio that night. And here’s where the awaited magic was birthed.
What makes this so much more special than a post-mortem album dedicated to the remembrance of Phife is the fact that he was actually a part of the process. This means no remastered old Phife lyrics, but as Q classifies it, nothing but “pure, unstepped on pure.”
Keep your eyes out for the album set to bless the masses on Nov. 11 with appearances by Busta Rhymes and Consequence.