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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"Jazz (We've Got)" (1991)

The lovely cool-out vibes of "Jazz (We Got)" stem from a tantalizing collaboration between ATCQ and Pete Rock that never came to fruition. One of the potential backing tracks was a Pete Rock arrangement of Jimmy McGriff's "Green Dolphin Street." "Pete had come up with that beat, but the song we were going to do never materialized," Q-Tip told Brian Coleman for the latter's 2005 book Rakim Told Me. "I already had the record he used, but I wanted to get his permission. He was like: ‘Yeah, go ahead.'" Pete Rock isn't mentioned as a co-producer in the Low End Theory credits, but Q-Tip gives him a shout-out at the end of "Jazz." Meanwhile, a lyrical stray shot from Phife Dawg — "Strictly hardcore tracks, not a New Jack Swing" — raised the ire of Teddy Riley protégés Wreckx-n-Effect, best known at the time for the lame pop-rap hit "New Jack Swing" (and, later, the even worse "Rump Shaker"). Wreckx-n-Effect exacted revenge for Phife's diss by surrounding Q-Tip at a 1993 Naughty by Nature concert and punching him in the eye. The Zulu Nation and the Nation of Islam subsequently negotiated a truce between the two.

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