A Tribe Called Quest is one of the most revered groups in Hip Hop history. Comprised of Q-Tip, the late Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and (sometimes) Jarobi, the legendary collective delivered several classic albums in the 1990s, including The Low End Theory (1991) and Midnight Marauders (1993).
But in 2016, just as Tribe was putting the finishing touches on their sixth studio album We got it from Here…Thank You 4 Your service, Phife Dawg passed away from complications stemming from diabetes. On the sixth anniversary of his death, the Phife Dawg Estate has released the Five-Foot Assassin’s first posthumous album, Forever.
Almost an hour in length, the 13-track project includes guest features from Redman, Rapsody, Busta Rhymes, Q-Tip, De La Soul/Native Tongue members Maseo and Pos, Lyric Jones, Little Brother and Illa J, among others. Lead singles “Nutshell Part 2” featuring Busta Rhymes and Redman and “French Kiss Trois” harken back to another era, when the rhymes were lyrically precise and beats were the best boom bap had to offer.
Phife Dawg was only 45 when he passed away, leaving a gaping hole that nobody else could fill. Speaking to HipHopDX last March, longtime friend and DJ Rasta Root (who executive produced the project) explained why March 22 was the perfect day to release the video for “Nutshell Part 2” and now, Forever.
“I think what was important to the family is that on March 22, 2021 we celebrated Phife’s life and legacy,” Rasta Root said at the time. “This song and video were very special to him so I know he is looking down and smiling now.”
Phife’s widow, Deisha Head-Taylor, echoed Roots’ sentiments, telling DX, “March 22 resonates with all of us, as it represents a day where our beloved, Malik Izaak Taylor, transitioned. He meant the world to his family and we knew one of the best ways to celebrate his life and legacy was to release a video that he felt so strongly about, ‘Nutshell Pt. 2.’
“He was excited to be collaborating with brothers that he highly respected and ranked very high on his Top MCs list.”
Forever also boasts a special appearance from Phife Dawg’s mother, renowned poet Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, who continues to celebrate his life every single day. Check out the album above.