Last night, after I published this piece, a friend of mine — also living in Los Angeles — expressed…
Paul Cantor

Well put. I wanna know your friend! :) But I agree with you about the location issue. Perhaps it’s elitist to me as a New Yorker (now transplant) to think that it is/was the center of the Universe. At least in hip-hop, it seemed that was the case for a while. I’m still saddened though b/c if a West Coast hip-hop legend passed, I’m pretty sure NYC DJs would be doing tributes on the radio and in bars. I also think that since LA is really spread out, it’s hard to find these spaces of the people who “know”. I want to continue to cultivate those spaces for the folks like me that are longing for the community that “knows” and were we could have a collective mourning/tribute. And that’s not only for ATCQ but for other things that speak to this “demographic” so to speak.

But yes, I agree with a lot of what you said about hip-hop culture and influence being more siloed pre-internet…and perhaps they were less “sexy” on a commercial level because they were pro-Black and their music wasn’t overtly sexual or violent. I hope that Phife’s passing does inspire younger folks to go back and dig as what often happens when we love a monumental talent.

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