Due to your many collaborations (Fu-Schnickens, Diamond D, Chi-Ali), movie credits (Who’s The Man, The Rugrats Movie), and solo (Ventilation: The LP) and group (Tribe Called Quest) endeavors you are considered one of the more accomplished hip hop artists in the game today. What is the secret to your longevity?
I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. There is so much more to be done. Those (so called) movie roles or cameos were very short [and] my album didn’t get the correct promotion at the time, but I learned a lot from that ordeal.
The secret would have to be being 1/3 of A TRIBE CALLED QUEST. Those guys taught me everything I know, good, bad & indifferent. I still have a lot to offer and bring to the table.
When will the highly anticipated “Songs in the key of Phife Volume 1: Cheryl’s Big Son” be available?
I plan on doing and EP first by the name of:”8 IS ENUFF" and then the LP "SONGZ IN THE KEY OF PHIFE" volume 1: CHERYL's BIG SON (ELMA's GRANDSON). [I] just started shopping both.
What will be different about this album?
My new LP vs. the last basically goes through life’s ups and downs, good, bad, drunk and sober, hilarious and serious.
I’ve been to hell and back. Looked death in the face, kicked his ass, only to lose my best friend (Grandmom) in June 2010! I’m just telling my story the way I see fit. At the end of the day, its hip-hop the way it was, the way it should be, the beats are knocking something crazy!
What are you doing as a rapper over 40? What is your advice for others in your age group?
If it’s hot, drop it. Age ain’t nothing but a number. If you don’t feel it, leave it alone. Make something that the youth or people in general can benefit from. That doesn’t mean you have to be preachy, but always remember that words are powerful. Always give the people what they want. (They’re the ones who say you are #1!) But don’t play yourself.
Are you just recording or are you involved in some other facet of the music industry and dropping albums once in a while?
I’m introducing a few new artists that I have in my stable. Notably a 23 year old producer/MC by the name of “LEL”, his producer name is “SNACK BOX” (he always has a bag of chips in his hand or candy in his mouth and never gains weight!) [He is a] very talented young man out of San Jose, CA. He produced most of the forthcoming EP including the 1st single “SOLE MEN” which he also rhymed on.
I also have a young lady who sings and raps by the name of “PASHYN LIVES”. She is from the Bay Area as well. She is on a song entitled: P.Y.D. (Pay Ya Dues), a young lady by the name of “NU YORK NIK”. She is originally from Lefrak City in Queens. She attended college in Alabama and is a well-known DJ/radio personality in the Birmingham Area. Her spit game is lethal. Last but not least, a young man out of San Diego named ST. CYR and my homie STOMAC out of Queens, NY. So I am getting my Berry Gordy/Russell Simmons/Quincy Jones on! LMAO!
What artists if any, would you like to work with?
I’d like to work with Ghostface, Cee Lo Green, Saddiq and the great Angela Winbush amongst others.
Tell us about Riddim Kidz, Inc.
Smokin’ Needles is the independent label that I have with my partner Dion “DJ Rasta Root” Liverpool and Riddim Kidz is our production team that consists of myself, the aforementioned DJ Rasta Root and Snack Box. If you look on the back of the first Tribe album “People’s Instinctive” you will see that it says Jarobi and the Rhythm Kids. We (A Tribe Called Quest) never did anything with the name, so I took it years later and renamed it “Riddim” being that Rasta Root and I were [both] of Trinidadian decent. We felt it was important to “rep we culture” through what we loved. What we love is music. Point blank.
How drastically has your life changed since you debuted with A Tribe Called Quest and what can we expect from the new and improved, mature Phife Dawg?
I been through hell and back and thanks to a great mom and dad and family in general, I made it through. My wife would have to be the bravest soul in the world being that she gave me a part of her in order for me to live. She’s the ultimate rock star for that because despite being married for 3 years (prior to the kidney transplant) I wasn’t built to ask her or anybody for an organ like that. My mind kept telling me; “What if my stepson needed that?” “What if her dad or auntie needed that?” So with that being said, I’m just thankful. I’m blessed to have her in my life and a part of her inside of me that is allowing me to breathe, rap, coach basketball, etc. God is good. I have learned how not to take life for granted.
Sounds great Phife. Give me one last thing you want the public to know or be ready for.
Look out for my clothing line: KENELL CLOTHING CO. coming soon. As well as my sports radio show: THE FANALYSTS. Catch us on twitter at fanalyst1 and on facebook: the Fanalyst. PEACE!
Here is video!