Rapper Big Boi has revealed not only that OutKast and A Tribe Called Quest were collaborating in 2016, but also that he plans to release some of the tracks that he recorded with the late Phife Dog. Initially reported by Consequence of Sound, Big Boi’s statements were pulled from an appearance on New York’s Hot 97. According to Big Boi: “We were talking about doing a Tribe Called Kast album. It was real. Q-Tip flew to Atlanta, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, we all met at Dré’s house. We got to the point of picking out beats for the album. Then, some kind of way, everybody started doing stuff, and then Phife… you know, so… It was happening though. It definitely was happening.”
He continued: “[Phife Dawg’s passing] was super sad for one because he had just been down in my studio with me, Stankonia. We actually got a couple records that me and Phife did together, ya know what I mean? Oh yea, I’m gonna put ’em out too.”
Obviously, these plans were derailed by the passing of Phife Dawg last spring from complications of diabetes mellitus. Phife, born Malik Izaak Taylor, left behind an impressive legacy of work with A Tribe Called Quest as well as his 2000 solo album Ventilation: Da LP. “The Five Foot Assasin,” as he was often called due to his small stature, broke strongly from the machismo-laden traditions of ’80s and ’90s rappers with his self-deprecating rhymes.
Despite the loss of a founding MC, the remaining members of A Tribe Called Quest decided to soldier on, releasing the album We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service late last November. The band undertook a tour following a statement from ATCQ’s Q-Tip that the group would continue without Phife. Unfortunately, the band has had to halt their European tour following Q-Tips shoulder injury in May.
Since their 2014 Coachella reunion, OutKast have also remained fairly busy. Mxdwn recently caught the hip hop duo at Atlanta’s Dungeon Family Reunion, which was hot on the heels of Gucci Mane Snapchatting that he had worked with the ATL natives. They’ve also planned a Texas-shaped reissue for “International Player’s Anthem (I Choose You),” their 2007 collaboration with hip hop group UGK.
No official plans have been made to release the Big Boi/Phife Dawg collabs, and they do not appear on Big Boi’s recently released Boomiverse.
Photo by Sharon Alagna.