Adding to the legacy of one of the most influential rappers in music history, the Estate of Phife Dawg has announced the release of “Nutshell PART 2” (Ft. Busta Rhymes & Redman),  the first single from the legendary artist’s upcoming anxiously awaited second solo album. Set to debut TODAYFriday, February 12th via SMOKIN’ NEEDLES/AWAL, the single will be featured on the first posthumous album release from the four-time GRAMMY® Award-nominated multiplatinum New York-born MC and member of A Tribe Called Quest. The partnership with AWAL will provide strategic distribution and global marketing for Phife’s posthumous solo album.Additional album details will be revealed in the coming weeks.

The original version of “Nutshell” highlighted Phife’s lyrical elasticity over a lo-fi loop, snappy drums, horn swells, and scratches. It hints at his rebirth on wax and ushers in another triumph. 


Before his untimely passing in 2016, Phifecommenced work on what would become his upcoming album. He carefully assembled a collection of songs earmarked by his signature verbal fireworks, hilarious adlibs, incisive social commentary, and unexpectedly introspective confessions. With the blessing of his family and his most trusted collaborator and business partner, Dion Liverpool (Executive Producer), under their imprint Smokin’ Needles Records, the Estate unveils his pure vision and final word as a solo rapper.

Of the release Phife’s family stated, “We are excited about the partnership with AWAL for Malik’s posthumous album release. We give all glory to God for allowing Malik to accomplish everything his heart desired, including his solo music. He worked really hard to complete his album before he transitioned, and he was ready to share an album that was near and dear to his heart with his fans. His fans meant the world to him.”

Said AWAL VP, A&R, Eddie Blackmon, “Phife may have been known as the ‘Five-Footer’ but the impact he left on music and culture is immeasurable. A heartfelt thank you for entrusting AWAL with the remaining part of his musical legacy.”

Phife Dawg lives Forever in 2021. 


Phife Dawg carved out a place in the hip-hop pantheon as both a formidable mic force and meaningful voice for the culture. Born Malik Izaak Taylor in Queens, NY, he launched his career during the golden age of rap. In 1985, he joined forces with Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad to launch A Tribe Called Quest and ultimately elevate the artform in terms of lyrical dexterity, social consciousness, and game-changing vision. 

As part of the group, he anchored a classic discography, including the one-two punch of platinum-certified epics The Low End Theory—regularly cited as one of the greatest hip-hop albums ever by Rolling StoneTimePitchfork, and more—and Midnight Marauders. Expanding his catalog, he dropped his solo debut Ventilation: Da LP in 2000 and featured on a diverse swath of projects, including TLC’s diamond-selling CrazySexyCool and Shaquille O’Neal’s Shaq Diesel. He appeared on screen in the GRAMMY® Award-nominated documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest directed by Michael Rappaport. A lifelong sports fanatic, he acted as a music consultant for The Golden State Warriors, contributed songs to the ESPY Awards, cut a theme for the Dallas Mavericks commissioned by Mark Cuban, and worked with the NFL Players Association. Not to mention, he was even a playable character in NBA2K.

After reuniting with A Tribe Called Quest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in 2015, he recorded with the group on its triumphant comeback opus We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service. The album arrived in the wake of his passing, but debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, picked up a gold plaque, and landed on year-end lists by EsquireBillboardQPastePitchfork, and more. Commemorating this icon, Vanity Fair noted, “He had a huge impact on a generation of artists and fans, and The New York Times celebrated him as “a star, but also a regular person, a hero of making it through the day. However, Kanye West put it best in a tearful eulogy, “Blame Tip and Phife ‘cause y’all raised me.