Phife Dawg, who passed away on Tuesday, was one of the most important MCs in Hip Hop history.
Notice: I didn’t say he was one of the best. He was good; better than solid and far better than average.
And it’s not even the issue of suggesting that his partner-in-rhyme in the seminal Hip Hop group A Tribe Called Quest, Q-Tip, was so much better.
The fact is, like the 1973 New York Knicks, A Tribe Called Quest as a group was better than the sum of it’s parts; kinda like Outkast.
Phife’s strength was that you could hear his underdog’s enthusiasm so clearly that you could literally feel him.
On “Buggin’ Out”, when he spit, “Yo, microphone check one-two what is this???”
You wondered what the fucc it was too.
If Phife was mad, you were mad. His spirit was contagious.
And Tribe worked so well and were on such an exclusive tier that you’re only able to possibly consider Outkast, Public Enemy, NWA and Wu-Tang as genuine peers.
After weeks of bizarre behavior which included getting stomped in a club fight and calling Chris Rock a “coon”, he hit what we fans of his are hoping is rock bottom, getting beat and twisted into a wrestling knot by a 7th grader.
Black comedians going off the deep end not only made Dave Chappelle’s trip to Africa seem relatively sane, but positively sage.
Of course, because Phife (5’3″) and Katt (5’5″) were both short dudes, any dimes-store psychiatrist would rush to say that they suffered from a “Napoleon complex” as if suffering was the right word to describe whatever it is that motivates certain men that lack physical stature to overachieve.
Shiii, if Napoleon “suffered” from his own complex, then the man of Italian heritage born Bounaparte who made himself into the Emperor of France, came within an arrogantly ill-advised war campaign against Russia of taking over the whole world!
Still, being short is something quantifiable. There are average heights, both world wide and regionally/nationally.
Being beautiful however, cannot be standardized. And anyone trying to convince you that one thing or another is absolutely and empirically beautiful, is certainly selling something.
That’s why it breaks my heart whenever I read the stuff that’s attached to hastags like #beingadarkskingirl.
It’s not that I don’t believe the horror stories, I’m just sad that the girls that wrote them actually believed that shit themselves.
And that’s not only because the commercial goal of this world is to make everybody hate themselves – that way, more products can be sold – but because accepting the negative attributes that some want to ascribe to dark skin is the first step towards believing it yourself.
And that’s fatal.
That mentality gets passed from generation to generation and makes it impossible for dark girls to find love because they figure something must be wrong with anybody that would fall for such an obviously inferior girl.
So it’s like the dark-skinned girls of that hastag have made the conscious effort to only believe worst bullshit out of all the things they hear.
And while I know this would take an almost Herculean effort, what makes more sense to me would be those same dark girls seeing themselves as both enlightened and elite.
That way when some cat walks up with real love in his eyes, he gets treated as one of the select few that “gets it”, instead of some fool that doesn’t know any better.