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).
Continue reading “RIP Phife Dawg – Favorite Verses: #1 – “Check The Rhime””