He was the Everyman to Q-Tip’s cerebral abstract vibes, bringing in pop culture references and grounding the group for the streets.
-Andre Torres, Executive Editor, Genius
A few years ago, a guest pastor came to my church to give a sermon on Joseph and his 11 brothers. As the story goes, Joseph was despised by his brothers (because their father, Jacob, favored Joseph over the others). One day, in a jealous rage, they brothers toss Joseph into a pit and fake his death1.
The pastors point was as follows: most of us try to relate to Joseph, when in reality, we are more like the 11 brothers.
I thought about that sermon when I heard about the passing of Phife Dawg – one third (or fourth, if you count Jarobi) of A Tribe Called Quest. Q-Tip was the smooth one – with the cocoa-brown skin, tall frame, and perfect words for the ladies. When I recite Tribe verses, I imagine that I’m Q-Tip…. but in reality, I’m more like Phife. Q-Tip was the abstract one. Phife was the realist. Q-Tip took you to the edges of the universe with a smooth flow and sideways thinking. Phife kept you grounded on earth with the realities of life.