Hip-Hop/Rap. Phife Dawg Was An Original Member Of One Of The Biggest Rap Groups Ever, A Tribe Called Quest.
Former A Tribe Called Quest MC Phife Dawg admirably takes a back-to-basics approach on his first solo foray, clearly reveling in his lone wolf status. "Should never have let me off the damn leash," he gleefully exclaims on "Flawless," a track which directs thinly veiled barbs at a certain vivrant former bandmate. However, a full-length tirade against former associates isn't on the agenda as Phife primarily voices his dissatisfaction with style-over-substance in hip-hop, and he isn't in the mood to bite his tongue. With Tribe's plush melodic compositions no longer cushioning his flow, the five-footer goes all out, dropping authoritative critiques on "Alphabet Soup" and "D.R.U.G.S.," both helmed by ascendant producer Hi-Tek. Aside from his usual marauding, canine inclinations ("Ben Dova"), Phife tries to infuse conceptual breadth through storytelling ventures with mixed results. Even though his ambitious lyrical attempts don't always work, his skills are matched and enlivened by supreme beat-layers such as Pete Rock ("Melody Adonis"), but when attached to underwhelming microphone assistance on posse cuts and bland production, things begin to falter. Fortunately, this is hardly the overwhelming scenario, and Phife's intact skills prove he's definitely not ready to be muzzled yet. --Del F. Cowie
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