The legendary MC Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor spread a message of duality in rap, so it’s only right rap duo, I$O Indies pay tribute with “Reflections“. Passing at the age of 45 due to complications bought on from diabetes, we will never forget what he represented, and what he wanted Rap as a whole to represent to the rest of the world.
Produced only by long-time collaborator Jahb Less, the three track EP opens up with a soundbite of the ATCQ member himself, setting up a recurring theme of keeping the love in hip hop along with all the other stuff. From then on out Ant (Conchez Yout) and Dill (Dillmatic) carefully paint a picture for us littered with call backs, having fun with wordplay, and fresh takes on old songs, basically everything a tribute done by two fans would have…if they were rappers as nice as these two.
Phife’s message is still much needed today, as showing love in hip hop and rapping about non-conventional things are still seen as not mainstream or looked down upon. Even with Childish Gambino, Tyler, The Creator, and others to rip open the anus of rap and say “we’re here too”, it’s still very common for people credit all that to “weirdo rap”. To hear Phife say this way back when, and see what ATCQ has done, you wonder where we lost that in the music we regularly consume.
My favorite right now is “Keep it Going“, even though I couldn’t tell you what makes it stand out more to me outside of maybe the hook. (Sorry Ant! I been bumping this all last week and spaced) The whole project feels like the group’s “We love you. Farewell and thanks for everything” to someone that they, and most of the rappers today, probably pulled a lot of inspiration from.
We covered their project previously so it’s nice to get some new stuff in a dose like this, but for now let’s take a moment to remember a great one while listening to some future greats pay homage.