The Learned Fangirl feature: Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Q-Tip, and Jarobi. And Me, Alicia.

A few months ago, I pitched an article about my love of A Tribe Called Quest, triggered by the 25th anniversary of Peoples Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. Two weeks after I submitted my draft Malik Izaak Taylor aka Phife Dawg died. It is a loss felt by many who were raised with the music of Tribe. I am grateful that I was given the privilege of writing about this legendary group and that this piece may be shared as an homage to the Five Foot Assassin. Read the full article here.

Rest in Power, Phife. And, thank you.

I love A Tribe Called Quest.

The first time I heard them was in a middle school gymnasium with the first feelings of adolescence flushing through my body. Mostly through the parts that I didn’t know much about but I knew made me a girl. Another thing I knew about being a girl: nobody likes the new girl, especially the “cute” new girl. Except for the boys. I was at a tricky moment in my formation of self. I remember the feeling of being new, of constantly being stared at, of being lonely.

I remember the feeling of knowing when the girls whispered about me and the feeling of icy silence when they didn’t. I remember the sting on my skin when one of boys snapped my bra and the sting in my heart when one of the mean girls wasn’t satisfied by whispering or silence. I remember words like “slut” and “trashy” and “Who does she think she is in that ‘fuck me’ red lipstick?’” I remember Jason’ B’s hands on my hips, dangerously close to my butt, when the beat dropped – what would become a highly recognizable sound – to “Bonita Applebum.”

Read the full article here