Gone too soon. Pfife was 45 years old (which is about 4 years older than me) and it leaves me wondering about life. We take so many things for granted as if we believe that as long as we can stay way from bullets, vehicular accidents, and places where natural disasters are prominent, then maybe we can reach a nice old age. But, if we learn nothing about the passing of Pfife then what are we really doing with ourselves?
Hip Hop, to me, represents my youth. It was a time of baggy jeans and eight ball jackets. Before the beef between east and west, there was something pure about Hip Hop. The only warfare to be had in this musical genre was a verbal one. The only thing that separated true emcees was the length of a microphone chord and true skill.
The beauty of early 90’s Hip Hop was that you could be anyone. There were no millionaires in this game. There were no producers jumping in trying to grab the spotlight. There were no athletes nor former actors rapping. What there was were emcees who paid their dues and if they were good enough we heard them on radio.
When Low End Theory came out, there was a sense from everyone who heard it that we may just be listening to one of the greatest albums ever. But when Midnight Marauders came out we all knew we were blessed.
Every generation has that one group that defines them in certain ways and the best way I can describe A Tribe Called Quest is that they are to me what Earth, Wind, and Fire is to the generation behind me. Pfife was the soul of ATCQ and losing him hurts in the same way it hurts to lose Maurice White. Of course Maurice lived to 75 and performed for many years. We will never get a chance to see the 5 foot assassin again.
I connect with Pfife because, to me, he seemed out of place in the game. He fit perfectly into ATCQ but I got the sense that he did what he wanted to do which made him slightly off center. I loved that about him because he had a keen sense of self that no one was going to take away. His flow was crazy and he told stories with his verses that were both hilarious and real.
In the wake of his death, I feel that reminder in the back of my head that I need to visit the doctor on the regular. Even though I’ve lost 20 pounds and cut down on sugar and became a vegetarian, I cannot rest on my laurels. As men, we think that we will always be alright and maybe that twinge of pain in our joints will eventually go away. We don’t want to think about colonoscopies or testicular cancer. We don’t want to think about arthritis or diabetes because we are not that old right?
We are never to young to not see the doctor. We are never too old to learn that we could have done something about our health. If there is one thing I will take from this is that I need to do a better job of taking care of me.
Sigh. I always hoped for the possibility of get one more album from A Tribe Called Quest. I was hoping to get one more song where Pfife kicks it on point.
All we can do is count our blessing and listen to the masterpieces. Rest in Peace, Malik.