Phife Dawg says that one of A Tribe Called Quest’s early singles netted the group no royalties.

The group’s debut album, 1990’s People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths Of Rhythm, featured the song “Can I Kick It?” 

Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White ran into a problem after they recorded the song, which featured samples from a number of acts, including Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side.”

“I remember with Jive [Records, to which Tribe was signed at the time], there was a problem with the sample being cleared,” Phife says during an interview with Rolling Stone. “I don’t think they cleared the sample, and instead of Lou Reed saying, ‘You can’t use it,’ he said, ‘Y’all can use it, but I get all the money from that.’

“To this day,” Phife adds, “we haven’t seen a dime from that song.” 

Phife says that he’s grateful the song because a hit, but isn’t pleased with the group’s former recording home.

“They didn’t clear the sample,” Phife says. “And rightfully so. It’s his art. It’s his work. He could have easily said no. There could have easily been no ‘Can I Kick It?’ So you take the good with the bad. And the good is, we didn’t get sued. We just didn’t get nothing from it.”

In 2011, Phife had a mixed emotions regarding Lou Reed’s stance regarding “Can I Kick It?”

“Fuck Lou Reed, man,” Phife said at the time. “Fuck him. Because we didn’t see no money from that fuckin’ record yet. Really. Here’s what happened – and I take back saying, ‘Fuck Lou Reed,’ because Lou Reed has every right to say ‘Give me my motherfucking money.’” 

A Tribe Called Quest’s People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths of Rhythm (25th Anniversary Edition) was released November 13. It features remixes with CeeLo Green (“Footprints”) and J. Cole (“Can I Kick It?”), as well a Pharrell Williams remix of “Bonita Applebum.”

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