I’m sharing this song today in honor of founding A Tribe Called Quest member Phife Dawg, aka Malik Taylor, who died this morning, March 23, 2016. He was only 45 years old.
Electric Relaxation is hip-hop at its smoothest and coolest, the absolute height of groove.
It’s my favorite Tribe song for a lot of reasons, but possibly the best one is Phife’s infectious second verse, sliding in after Q-Tip with the iconic line “I like ’em brown, yellow Puerto Rican and Haitian, name is Phife Dawg from the Zulu Nation!”
Introductions don’t get much better than that. Although The Low End Theory was the group’s second full length album, released in 1991, it was the de facto introduction for millions of fans getting into the burgeoning jazz-hop movement. Phife’s contributions to the world of hiphop will be weighed heavily in the coming days, but I’ll always picture him riding in that car, chilling with his best friends.
The weirdest thing is, as I brushed my teeth today “Phife Dawg” flitted through my mind. It was just another random phrase shot across my consciousness; stuff like that happens all the time. But then I looked online and found out that he’d died. I’m always thankful for mysteries of connection.