A new track has emerged with the late, great Phife Dawg rapping over a classic J Dilla production. The new Phife Dawg track “Nutshell” and new memorial video comes from Smokin’ Needles Records. Some speculated that the group A Tribe Called Quest were working on a new album set to drop in 2016, however it turns out that Phife was actually working on a solo album “Give Thanks.”
“Wes Jackson has clarified that it was Muhammed Islam of The Zulu Nation, former head of security for Tribe, on his radio show, and not Ali Shaheed Muhammed as has been reported. Tribe was not working on a new album, and we apologize for this error.”
“Nutshell” is available for purchase on iTunes with 50% of all proceeds going to the American Diabetes Association and The National Kidney Foundation.
Phife Dawg – Give Thanks EP
“Give Thanks” was originally scheduled to drop sometime in February, but was later pushed back. The EP had accompanying work from producers J Dilla (RIP), Nottz, 9th Wonder, and Phife himself. We can only assume that the delay came from a knowing of Malik’s deteriorating health from his battle with diabetes. Malik Izaak Taylor, better known as Phife Dawg, passed away March 22nd, 2016 from complications dealing with diabetes before the project could be released. Unaware of whether the EP “Give Thanks” was completed or not, we’re left with Phife’s posthumous track “Nutshell” and music video to cope with this tragedy.
Phife Dawg in a “Nutshell”
As the lyrics state who was Phife Dwag in a “Nutshell?” He was the accompaniment to the group A Tribe Called Quest, and a centerpiece to the success of the legendary hip hop group. Malik was a raw hip hop rapper with his ability to jump through boom bap beats, with a touch of comical lyrics to sooth the soul. To explain his style a little better he was the,
“The undefeated, unblemished, underrated
Unfiltered, unafraid, unaffected
Undaunted, unabashed, the undeniable
Untouchable, unstoppable, unusual
Underdog, unsurpassed, unyielding
Unsupportive, f**k you and your feelings
Unrelenting, unscathed, uncontrollable
Unpleasant one, problem with me
Hah, and that’s just me in a nutshell”
J Dilla & Phife Dawg
It was early 2014 when Phife Dawg dropped his track “Dear Dilla” to pay tribute to one of the hip hop industry’s most influential artists J Dilla. In the video seen below, Phife is pictured in a hospital gown sharing a room with James Yancey who had passed away in 2006 from a rare blood disorder known as thrombotic thrombocytopenia purport.
The classic image of J Dilla on his MPC 3000 can be seen as light casts a shadow through the hospital curtains. Phife goes on to say,
“Dilla dawg, I had a dream about you fam
Its 2005, we in the same hospital room
You on one side, I’m on the other
I’m stressed out, but what gave motivation was you pullin’ out that MP
And bangin out some bangers as usual
Nothin’ ever phased you fam, and for that, I miss you.”
The video left me with a bit of uneasy foreshadowing to Phife’s future but a feeling of closure to be meeting back with his family member J Dilla.