Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest
Since his suspicious emergence with hip hop legends A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, PHIFE DAWG influenced a generation of inspiring emcees with his succinct metaphor infused rhymes. As a member of A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, PHIFE DAWG achieved what few MCs could ever dream of by gathering three platinum and two gold records, playing in sold out 20.000 capacity arenas and inspiring a generation of emcees to come. Membership in TRIBE guaranteed a loyal following with hip hop heads throughout the world. A spot on the 1993 Lollapalooza festival and billing on the Tibetan Freedom concert with the likes of Beastie Boys and Rage Against The Machine, catapulted PHIFE and TRIBE from a loyal hip hop fanbase to crosscultural phenomenon overnight. Proving their musical reach transcended beyond hip hop boundaries - they attracted college students and the alternative crowd like no other hip hop group prior to them, their placement on the Smoking Groove tour with The Fugees further cemented their appeal to the next generation of hip hop fans, and with these accomplishments behind them, a slew of feature stories and covers on notable magazines such as The Source and Vibe, not to mention their videos with the likes of Busta Rhymes viewed by millions on MTV - many fans were puzzled when the group broke up. Many wondered how PHIFE could leave behind a prodigious career with TRIBE to pursue an uncharted one of his own making.
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PHIFE DAWG's much anticipated solo project is an extension to an already impressive career. Though skeptics would counter that PHIFE reached a pinnacle with TRIBE, the latter was only the appetizer in a seven-course meal. PHIFE's energy and presence both on stage and on record is guaranteed to reestablish himself as one of the most notable emcees of his time. His current project will give you the same feelings you got when you first fell in love with hip hop. Known as a musical innovator, PHIFE' s lyrics remain succinct and uplifiting. His melting of clever wordplay and humour has earned him a following from fans worldwide spanning several continents and generations. And true to the game his solo project is "...straight to the point...no gimmicks...just an emcee...a DJ...and tight beats." Unlike the pre-fabricated synthetic beats and rhymes infiltrating the airwaves today, PHIFE wants to be the maverick sheep of hip hop, to "stand out like a sore thumb". In fact by choosing an independant label, PHIFE's new LP "VENTILATION" parallels his pursuit of artistic freedom and his dismissal of oppressive constraints from the majors. Though wooed by major labels he chose the path that would enable him to control the content and direction of his music. He goes on to say "a lot of these artists nowadays got no originality. They copy one another because they aren't in it for the longevity. Artists are like the major labels...scared.They're followers...emcees arebecoming clones."
PHIFE's solo project includes vintage 'Tribesque' tracks and the already released single 'Ben Dova' (GAP052) as well as some new slammin productions of some of the hottest and talented producers in the hip hop arena: FRED WRECK from Los Angeles, RICK ROCK, HI-TEK from Reflection Eternal, PETE ROCK, and JAY DEE from Slum Village. Expect 14 joints from his new full-length album "VENTILATION" out September 2000 on Groove Attack Productions / Superrappin. Though some would consider PHIFE's new solo venture a gamble, PHIFE views this as a journey and as a time to make his vision a reality and re-introduce himself as an artist. "In TRIBE I was known as the short, dark one. I could never fully be myself because I always had to think in terms of the group". However, his solo project will mark the introduction of the side of PHIFE that many fans have yet to see: his alter ego MUTTY RANKS. He adds:"I can display the happy go lucky...I don't give a damn...rhyming and spitting...persona that is a part of me. This is something I couldn't do when I was with TRIBE." The alias MUTTY RANKS has origin in PHIFE's West Indian background. RANKS signifying the emcee or Master of Ceremony and MUTTY symbolizing the dog and mutt who "just don't give a fuck."
Hailing from Queens NY, home of some of the illest emcees alive, PHIFE DAWG was born Malik Taylor. The only child of a poetess and a sports fanatic father who collected Calypso, Reggae and R&B records. PHIFE was exposed to music and the aesthetics of words at an early age. His mother encouraged him to write poetry and Malik would do so with the ease of someone born to write. Splitting time between his family and his grandmother's house - who was a strict 7th Adventist Christian - he would sneak out and into the local house parties, where he stood mesmerized by the beats and rhymes. At age 9, he rhymed as girls pinched his cheek and told him how cute he was. And back in those days you had to be a baller or an emcee to catch the attention of the mocca coloured honeys. Not being tall enough to be a baller he found his way to attract the ladies! Soon PHIFE was ripping his way through lunchroom battles, street-corner confrontations, and ciphers around New York City perfecting his craft. He delved into all aspects of the four elements: breaking and popping, rapping, a little graffing and DJing. But emceeing is what he gravitated towards. And he soon dropped the three, picking up the microphone and began rhyming. At the age of twenty, PHIFE was already a seasoned entertainer.
Many performers would be content with having achieved a fraction of what PHIFE DAWG has accomplished as an artist. However, true to his nature, PHIFE continues to seek more and reach out to loftier goals. When asked what lay before him he only invisions the mountains. As a solo artist he wants to leave people screaming "dammmnnn,...shorty has mad skills." In addition to music he wishes to fulfill a childhood dream of being a sports broadcaster. And what after that? He plans to test his entrepreneurship skills by opening a chain of restaurants! Undoubtedly, this MC has got a lot up his sleeves. But no doubt: he will achieve this AND more.
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