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A look back at Phife Dawg's show at London's Jazz Cafe 

Venue: The Jazz Cafe, London

Date: 18 March 2010

By Christopher Mitchell | 23 March 2016

Honestly speaking, despite being a huge fan of Phife and A Tribe Called
Quest as a collective, I went to this show with a sense of apprehension.
There was no Q-Tip or Ali Shaheed Mohammad on the bill and its been ten
years since Phife's last solo album so what exactly did Phife have in
store for his beloved U.K. audience?

Before that question was answered, Chip-Fu, formerly of the Fu-Schnickens, opened up the show and warmed up the crowd home cooker style. With a flow that was more extra terrestrial than human, Chip-Fu reminded older heads who he was and introduced himself to a slew of new faces. He performed the classic cut Ring The Alarm as well as one new track in particular which had me digging deep into iTunes when I got home. His delivery was so fast it was almost impossible to make out exactly what he was saying but ironically it sounded so good. Just to assure us that he wasn't chatting gibberish, he slowed down to a near grinding halt and proved that beneath his road runner like delivery was an intricate and structured stream of consciousness. Props to Chip-Fu for even jumping off the stage and having a party on the floor with us mere mortals.

 

Approximately forty five minutes later, Phife Diggy was ready to rock and that is exactly what he did. Don't let his five foot frame and the rumours of declining health fool you because Phife put on one amazing performance. As expected, he got his fingers dusty and pulled out some Tribe gems at will such as Luck Of Lucien, Check The Rhime, Award Tour, Electric Relaxation, Hot Sex and Find A Way. The sheer nostalgia and euphoria that these songs created was so heart warming and also quite alarming as I thought a mosh pit was about to kick off, especially when he dropped Scenario. Judging by the phenomenal response, you would be forgiven for thinking it was an M.O.P. or Onyx show but it was good times all round. Throughout his whole set he effortlessly showed off his inimitable charm alongside a wicked sense of humour. He had us in a stitches and shock when he said "fuck Can I Kick It", venting his frustration that due to the greedy artist whose original work was sampled for the song, nobody in A Tribe Called Quest has been paid a penny in royalties to this day. He performed it anyway though.

Not content to rest on past laurels, Phife also showcased some brand new material from his upcoming album, the cleverly titled Songs In The Key Of Phife. The music sounded great from a lyrical and production standpoint and came across as a natural evolution of all his past classic work. He told us to expect production from Illmind, Oh No and D.J. Scratch, ensuring that the flame of anticipation was officially lit. The love Phife showed to the audience was exemplary as he made his intention sure by declaring that he was "not leaving the stage". He then proceeded to perform a few songs from his underrated Ventilation album which was most definitely appreciated by all those in attendance.

In closing, this was a great show and the fans were truly engaged, enthralled and excited. Phife most definitely represented to the fullest. As great as he was with A Tribe Called Quest, he proved that he is an entertaining and bankable live act by his damn self. It was definitely one of the best shows I have been to in a while. Can he kick it? Yes he can.

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