RIP Phife Dawg – Favorite Verses: #1 – “Check The Rhime”

_88917865_f28f58d1-b452-468d-b112-3d8c3450916f[1]Johnathan Davis and Malik Taylor.

The Abstract Poetic and the Five Foot Assassin.

Q-Tip and Phife Dawg.

The greatest MC duo ever.

Better than Run and DMC (because of the way ATCQ traded and intertwined verses). Better than Andre and Big Boy (who built on “the Player and the Poet” mystique created by Tribe). Better than Black Star (only because of longevity).

The special thing about the Tribe MCs was that their personalities were so different and complimentary, which allowed them to achieve a near perfect balance of heft/levity, styles, and tempo. This relationship was highlighted when Phife and Q-Tip traded lines mid-verse (like “Electric Relaxation”) or handed off the mic (see “Vibes and Stuff”).

The gold standard example of their symbiotic relationship is “Check the Rhime”. Backed with a laid-back sample of Minnie Riperton’s “Baby, This Love I Have”, Q-Tip and Phife effortlessly alternate taking lead, building on their shared story (growing up in Queens).

[Q] Back in the days on the boulevard of Linden
We used to kick routines and presence was fittin’
It was I, The Abstract
[P] And me the five footer
I kicks the mad style so step off the frankfurter
[Q] Yo, Phife, you remember that routine
That we used to make spiffy like Mr. Clean?
[P] Um um, a tidbit, um, a smidgen
I don’t get the message so you gots to run the pigeon
[Q] You on point Phife?
[P] All the time, Tip
[Q] You on point Phife?
[P] All the time, Tip
[Q] You on point Phife?
[P] All the time, Tip
[Q] Well, then grab the microphone and let your words rip

RIP Phife. Thanks for 25+ years of great music.

A Tribe Called Quest – Check The Rhime

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