While the group pushed forward to finish their first album in 18 years, entitled We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service, after Phife’s death, his passing had a major effect on White.
“S##t, 2016 was a f##king horrible year, like a f##king terrible year. One of the worst of my life. What stands out the most? I mean, the passing of…losing my brother. You know what I mean?” White told Cult Montreal.“That’s definitely like, there’s nothing that has shaped or impacted my life, nothing even comes close. Like, the record, like – nothing comes close to that.”
We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service was praised by critics and became A Tribe Called Quest’s second record to top the Billboard 200 chart following its release in November (2016).
While the reception to the record was welcomed by the band, White admits he has mixed feelings due to Phife Dawg’s tragic death.
“People ask me that, like ‘How does it feel?’ and all that and I can’t really explain it,” he said. “I’m super happy they’re enjoying it and feel good about the project. But you know, I wish that Phife was here to see how much all of these people love us. It’s truly, truly, truly, truly humbling. For us not to have put out a record in so long and people still pay attention, in itself, is crazy.”
However, White is convinced that Phife is well aware of the group’s success as he looks down on his bandmates.”
This album is definitely a living tribute to Phife,” he concluded. “And it’s very gratifying for this s##t to be number one in like, 30 countries or whatever it is? Know what I’m sayin’? Wherever Phife’s sitting, he’s like, ‘That’s aight (alright)!’ Definitely.”