At the time of his death in March 2016, A Tribe Called Quest MC Phife Dawg had recorded roughly two-thirds of his sophomore solo album, which he’d been working on for more than a decade. Released exactly six years after his passing, Forever was completed by his frequent collaborator Dion Liverpool, who consulted Phife’s own notebooks for song ideas and suggested features to help crystallize the late rapper’s vision. The result is an affecting LP laced with all the effervescence that Phife embodied in his lifetime. With production from 9th Wonder, J Dilla, Khrysis, and others, Forever lets Phife Dawg’s vocals breathe in a neo-boom-bap atmosphere. He oscillates between playful (“Nutshell Pt. 2”) and profound (“Only a Coward,” “Forever”) as he discusses themes of honor, loyalty, and love. Features from Busta Rhymes, Rapsody, Redman, Maseo, and others seem to channel his spirit, each track rippling with the sincerity and humor that have made Phife's work—while he lived and after—so compelling.

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