Posted by Brian Flores on
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Set against the backdrop of A Tribe Called Quest member Q-Tip being named the Kennedy Center's first artistic director of hip-hop culture came the tragic news that Phife Dawg, the Five Foot Assassin, had died of complications from diabetes at the age of 45.
Alternative hip-hop artists like ATCQ, Black Star, and De La Soul helped broaden this suburban kid's horizons to what was not only possible but also to what was real. Hip-hop, particularly of the alternative genre, served as an important puzzle piece in defining how Afro-Caribbean sounds had influenced the evolution of American (and European) music, from blues and jazz to rock and roll and beyond. Without these roots, the tree of music would never have grown the branches of Robert Johnson and Clifton Chenier, of The Boxtops and Led Zeppelin, of Duke Ellington and A Tribe Called Quest. Phife Dawg's diminutive stature belied his importance tothe the music world, where he was a giant among mortal MCs.
In tribute to Phife, today's Friday Afternoon Video is Jazz (We've Got), from the group's second album The Low End Theory. Enjoy it, reflect on how life can be tragically brutish and short, and reach out and tell your loved ones how you feel about them.