A Tribe Called Quest: 20 Essential Songs

R.I.P. Phife Dawg: Revisit pioneering New York rap crew's best tracks

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"Buggin' Out" (1991)

Those familiar with the video for "Jazz (We Got)" — see above —  will recall that the song abruptly ends at the 3:30 mark. Phife Dawg then says, "Yo, check this out," and the black-and-white A-side shifts into the primary colored B-side, "Buggin' Out." "Microphone check, one-two, what is this?" rhymes the five-foot assassin with the ruffneck business over a live-and-direct Ron Carter bass line. Phife's second "Buggin' Out" verse is even better as he reveals how being in overcrowded New York can get overwhelming "like a migraine pounding," despairs about riding on the train "with no dough" and admits that sometimes he just wants to be alone. "I had a twin brother that died at birth so I was a lonely child sometimes, but that loneliness helped me out a lot," Phife told The Source in 1993. "I'd be in the bathroom showering when I was mad young, and the rhymes would just be coming."

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