I have a lot of respect for Phife Dawg, who you probably know best as 1/3 (or 1/4, depending…) of the legendary group A Tribe Called Quest. Not only do we share West Indian roots and a New York background, we’re also both avid sports fans (although his knowledge far outstrips mine) and we’re both funky diabetics.

Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve heard anything from Mutty Ranks on the solo tip, but he’s returned with a haunting and soulful homage to his friend J Dilla. “#dearDilla” is a heartfelt tribute (a little different from Phife’s usual humorous steez) which evokes memories of classic Tribe material, along with literally containing samples from several of Dilla’s highly lauded and influential productions.

Also–incredibly hard to believe that it’s been eight years since Dilla passed. Seems like yesterday.

Tribe played their alleged “farewell” shows along with Kanye last year (and for what it’s worth, I don’t believe that shit for a minute,) but after hearing this, I’d definitely be open to hearing what a whole new album from Phife would sound like.

Follow Phife on Twitter for more sports and hip-hop info than you can possibly handle.

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