It feels a little unbelievable, but just one week from today will mark the sixth anniversary of Phife Dawg’s death. It’s a sobering sentiment, but the load is lightened by an announcement by the late rapper’s estate last year: March 22 will also mark the release of his long-awaited posthumous album, Forever. Today, his co-producer on the album, DJ Rasta Root, shared the album’s cover art and tracklist, which features a who’s-who of longtime collaborators and friends, including Angel Winbush, De La Soul, Dwele, Little Brother, Lyric Jones, Rapsody, and, of course, his A Tribe Called Quest brother in rhyme, Q-Tip.
Production on the album will be handled by 9th Wonder, J Dilla, Khrysis, Nottz, Potatohead People, and more. So far, only two singles from the album have been released: the Busta Rhymes and Redman-featuring “Nutshell Part 2” and “French Kiss Deux,” which features the late J Dilla’s younger brother Illa J. Both revealed an aesthetic similar to latter-day Tribe production, with stripped-down, funk-driven beats custom-made to show off Phife’s easygoing flow.
The road to the album’s release has been kind of a bumpy one; though initially announced almost five years ago, it has certainly taken a while to prepare, with the album getting pushed back to 2021, then pushed back again to 2022. But, the wait is almost over now, and from the looks of things, the project will be well worth it.
Forever is due 3/22 via Smokin’ Needles Records.