Unreleased Phife Dawg Drops
March 22, 2016 was an incredibly sad day for Hip Hop. After battling diabetes for more than 25 years, Malik Izaak Taylor, better known as a Tribe Called Quest’s own Phife Dawg the five-foot assassin, passed away at the age of 45. Cited as an influence by artists like Kanye West, Jill Scott, Common, and the Roots, to name only a few, it’s likely that Phife was one of your favorite rappers’ favorite rappers - if not one of yours personally.
Despite having passed away at such a young age, the extent of Phife’s impact on the culture and canon is irrefutable. Responsible (along with Q-Tip and the rest of Tribe) for quintessential classics like “Bonita Applebum”, “Can I Kick it”, “Award Tour”, and “Scenario”, as well as Low End Theory, one of the most influential and critically acclaimed Hip Hop albums of the 1990s, Phife’s self-deprecating swagger and lyrical genius will no doubt be celebrated for generations to come.
For those of us holding out hope that there might be some unreleased tracks stashed somewhere in a vault in St. Albans, today brings some (very) good news. According to an announcement this morning, Phife’s family has decided to see his wishes through and release music that he had been recording for his new album, Give Thanks, up until his untimely passing.
In reference to the decision, his wife, Deisha, said that, “Phife loved his fans, and was so excited for them to hear his new music. I feel like he would have wanted it this way.” She, along with his longtime friend and manager, Dion Liverpool, decided to debut his J Dilla produced (estate licensed) single, “Nutshell.” Dion Liverpool added, “The single displays Phife’s legendary wordplay as he describes himself, in a nutshell, so to speak.”
On Tuesday April 5th, “Nutshell” will debut exclusively on Beats 1 Radio with Ebro Darden, and the single will simultaneously be available on iTunes. The video (directed by Tony Reames) will debut worldwide at The Celebration of Phife (invite only) on Tuesday, April 5th at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY.