Run the Jewels‘ Killer Mike and El-P paid their respects to the late Phife Dawg on the duo’s WRTJ Beats 1 radio Friday, talking at length about the Tribe Called Quest rapper’s impact on an entire generation of rappers. “You will live forever in our rhymes,” Killer Mike said.
“Everybody loves that dude,” El-P said. “Everybody knows what he’s done for music; everybody grew up feeling like this guy was someone you wanted to know, and that he represented something for us that was even sort of innocent, in a way. So I’d just like to say – and I’m sorry we’re taking this somber moment here but somber moments are deserved sometimes – I’d just like to say thank you Phife for inspiring me.”
“I remember listening to Low End Theory; I had been kicked out of high school, I was in GED school in the LES and all I could do was listen to Low End Theory,” El-P added. “I was in a strange time in my life, and Low End Theory kind of defined that time. Rest in peace Phife, and I will miss you and your music, and you’re a hero to me and a lot of people.”
Killer Mike said that he had reached out to Q-Tip personally after the death of his fellow Tribe member. “I know the loss of him affects you guys deeper than most because you guys were truly brothers and you taught us as young fans and lovers of hip-hop to love one another in the same way,” the rapper said.
Killer Mike then shared a story about cutting school to see A Tribe Called Quest concert at Atlanta’s Emory University. “His rhymes were clever and on point; he loves sports and music in the same way that so many as me and friends did,” the rapper said. “He is, not was, but is a constant inspiration to me, on just how to be a cool motherfucker and drop dope-ass rhymes and how to be the best presentation of what a group of people who don’t rap with each others’ style should be. You guys were on the short list of people we wanted to emulate as a group.”
A Tribe Called Quest’s surviving members also remembered Phife Dawg in a statement, writing, “His music and what he’s contributed is seismic and hard to measure. He’s affected us as much as he’s affected all of you.”