VIBE and the estate of rap legend Phife Dawg are unveiling the music video for “Forever,” the titular track and lead single from his long-awaited posthumous album. The visual, which was directed by Tony Reames, includes a display of Phife’s own handwritten lyrics for “Forever” in the forefront, as archival footage and snapshots from throughout Phife’s journey help bring the story to life. With Phife not here in the physical form, as he passed away days after completing “Forever,” his last song recorded before his transition, Reames was inspired to give the clip a personalized touch, particularly after hearing the song himself.
“When I first heard ‘Forever’, I was not prepared for the depth and honesty,” Reames shared with VIBE in a statement. “It took me a long time to let it all sink in. DJ Rasta Root came up with the idea of personal photos and videos to match the message for the video. I am not sure if it has been mentioned but the lyrics are all in Phife’s own handwriting. We scanned in a lot of his writings to create a font as if Phife himself was telling you the story. I’m forever grateful to be around Phife, his family and everyone we met along the way.”
Dion “DJ Rasta Root” Liverpool, a trusted collaborator of Phife, who helped spearhead Smokin’ Needles Records with the late rapper, spoke on he and the estate’s decision to film a visual for “Forever,” which he co-produced alongside Nottz and V. Rich. “I felt like a song as powerful as Forever had to have a video,” Rasta Root, who also executive produced Forever, shared in a statement to VIBE. “Thanks to Tony Reames, who directed most of Phife’s videos, we were able to complete this to round off the album’s third single.”
Released on March 19, six years to the date after it was recorded, “Forever” finds Phife taking a trip down memory lane, recalling the fashion and stylings of the golden era and documenting his own evolution as an MC. Interesting tidbits are dropped throughout, such as the admission that the lyrics he recited on A Tribe Called Quest’s debut album, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, were written for him, which inspired him to become one of Hip-Hop’s most competitive and battle-ready lyricists after that point. He also addresses the internal friction within Tribe towards the backend of their historic five-album run, which eventually led to their split after the release of their 1998 album, The Love Movement.
Released on March 22, on the six-year anniversary of his death, Forever is the second solo album of Phife’s career, following his 2000 solo debut, Ventilation: Da LP. Including features from Q-Tip, Busta Rhymes, Redman, Rapsody, Illa J, Little Brother, Angela Winbush, Pos and Maseo of De La Soul, Darien Brockington, Lyric Jones, and more, Forever was released under Phife and DJ Rasta Root’s Smokin’ Needles Records imprint through AWA.
Watch Phife Dawg’s “Forever” video above.