Andre 3000 and Kanye West both spoke at "A Celebration Of Phife" last night.
Last night, "A Celebration Of Phife" was held at the Apollo, an event which saw a number of special guests speaking and performing in honor of Phife Dawg, the legendary rapper and member of A Tribe Called Quest who passed last month. Among the speakers were Tribe members Q-Tip, Jarobi, and Ali Shahed Muhammad, as well as Kanye West and Andre 3000.
Both Ye and Dre had some very kind words for Phife and the rest of Tribe, but Three Stacks definitely delivered the most surprising anecdote of the night, revealing that Tribe and Outkast had talked a bout a joint album only a few years prior.
You can read excerpts from his speech below (via Rolling Stone).
Man, it’s about Phife. I wasn’t prepared to say anything, but it’s like, “Outkast would not be Outkast.” When we got our deal, we rapped for [Outkast producer] Rico Wade in the parking lot. The only thing me and Big [Boi] had was “Scenario” on cassette and we rapped for days, just going. And in high school, my first rap name was Jhaz because of these n*ggas. It was J-H-A-Z; I don’t know how I was thinking I was spelling that sh*t. [Crowd laughs.] Because of “Jazz (We’ve Got).” We would sit in high school and be like, “Man, we love them.”
I’m going to say some interesting news and some disappointing news at the same time. About a year or two ago, we were talking about doing a Tribe Called Quest and Outkast album. Yeah. For whatever reason, it did not happen. I don’t want to let the time go by, because you never know. And that’s one of the biggest things about regret. Whatever reason we didn’t do it, it was on our plate and we just… let it go for our own personal reasons.
I don’t have no big message or speech or nothing but just, “Keep that sh*t going.” And Tribe meant everything to me. They are everything. It’s always, “Who are the greatest groups?” F*ck that sh*t. [Points to Tribe Called Quest.] This dude [Q-Tip] taught me what kind of rapper I wanted to be. My first rap, I remember it now, it was “Young and naive/Alive I keep the dream/Writin’ funky lyrics at the age of 16.” I wrote it because of you. [Points to Q-Tip.] I didn’t even know what the word naive meant.[Crowd laughs.] Q-Tip taught me words. “Elation.” I’m sitting in high school like, “Damn I gotta look this sh*t up.” “I’m filled with elation.” Ohhhhh, okay. We can use these words too? We can be smart Yeah, man. He gave me fuel. And I gotta give the young n*ggas fuel. We gotta quit hatin’ on each other. To Phife.
Kanye's tribute centered around his experience listening to The Low End Theory as a kid, as well as the importance of propping up creators rather than the corporate side of the music industry.
I might say something wrong as always, but I thought it’d be more wrong not to say nothing. When I see the power in this room…. Low End Theory was the first album I ever bought and I stayed in the suburbs of Chicago with my stepfather. I’d always get into trouble for listening to music during the week and then I would have to go to detention or study hall, but I enjoyed it ’cause I had that Tribe tape and it didn’t really matter how long that walk was…One hundred years from now, we’re gonna all be with Phife and this country was built off our back. I live next to the dentist. I stay in a $20 million crib next to the dentist. Dave Chappelle, you know what I’m talking about. We had an event a year ago and I would just go over to Tip’s house like when they was doing Low End Theory and Pete Rock came down. And I be at these events in Hollywood and I be at these events here and I’m looking at how many more people inspire us and the walls that we have on our finances. Out in Hollywood, everybody got a mink coat and $500,000 car. And it’s the way the music industry was set up was that all the people that run the industry and sign everybody from out of Queens, the Bronx, southside of Chicago, Atlanta make sure that they get that crib.
I’m sorry, but that’s what was on my fuckin’ mind when I was sitting here thinking about how much these people inspire me and how powerful the influence of the music was and how it made that walk to study hall so short. How it meant everything. It is everything. Music was stolen from us and corporatized and anybody that spoke up was demonized. Anything I ever did wrong, blame Tip and Phife ’cause y’all raised me…It should not be surprising to you when the sports announcer [Scott Van Pelt] was influenced by Tribe. That should not be a surprise! That’s the absolute truth!