#DXCLUSIVE: Deuce Eclipse Delivers Bi-Lingual Brilliance On Starita’s “Too Strong” Single

September 25, 2019 | 8:00 AM

HIPHOPDX PREMIERE – Explosive bi-lingual MC Deuce Eclipse (Zion I, Bang Data) has joined forces with Grammy Award-winning producer Starita for a new single called “Too Strong.” The track effortlessly brings two cultures together and allows Deuce to flex his bi-lingual prowess.

“I’ve always been a bi-lingual rapper,” Deuce tells HipHopDX. “My music is about non-exclusivity. It’s for everybody. It’s music without borders. It’s a universal worldwide sound in the way that it combines the cultures that I’ve experienced — Nicaraguan, first generation American, Californian, Hip Hop rapper, bi-lingual artist  — and the message that comes through me.

“What’s resonant with me right now is going back to my Spanish roots and connecting with other parts of my community beyond Hip Hop — Spanish speakers, immigrants or just others that may not speak English in general. I want my music to be the voice for everyone in terms of what I do musically.”

Deuce adds, “‘Too Strong’ is about strength and positivity, in a way. In another way, it’s putting out there how we live around the system and survive in this country by uniting and coming together; being strong in our beliefs.

“As I look at my environment and the separation of families and what’s going on in the world, I work to balance the negativity that’s placed us and remind myself not to give up on humanity…at the end of the day, we are all good at heart.”



Deuce and Starita’s collaborative relationship stretches back years. In fact, Starita engineered Bang Data’s La Sopa album in 2012. Their chemistry continues with “Too Strong.”

“When the opportunity came up for ‘Too Strong,’ it just felt right to make this a bi-lingual track,” Starita explains. “Deuce’s ability to blend Spanish and English in lyrics is masterful. And considering that I love pushing the boundaries of genre-bending, collaborating with Deuce and making music that resonate across cultures is a natural progression.”

Both artists want fans of the track to feel good after hearing the song. It’s all about creating a mood.

“When fans listen to ‘Too Strong,’ I’d like them to feel that this music is timeless,” Deuce concludes. “I always like to create something that feels good but puts you in the mood. Making music is about the whole, not its parts. It’s not necessarily about the lyrics. It’s everything as one thing. It’s not just the voice.

“The voice is just one instrument. People forget that. I want people to realize that music is a vibration. It gets in where it fits in. There’s so many different vibrations in the world and this is just one of them.”

“Too Strong” serves as Starita’s fifth track as a solo artist, following “Rules” featuring A Tribe Called Quest’s Jarobi and vocalist Trent Park, “Lights On” with singer-songwriter, Trevor Hall, “The One” with R&B singer/songwriter Trent Park and “HUMAN” featuring Oakland-based MC RyanNicole.


Read the full premiere here…

Phife Dawg’s Mother & Wife Speak On Life & Loss During UnderCover Presents’ Tribe Tribute

Phife Dawg's Mother & Wife Speak On Life & Loss During UnderCover Presents' Tribe Tribute

The sold-out crowd was gathered to watch over 100 Bay Area musicians recreate A Tribe Called Quest’s 1993 classic, Midnight Marauders, and honor the life of the late Tribe luminary as part of the A Tribute To A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders event.

Spearheaded by non-profit UnderCover Presents, the tribute event seamlessly weaved together a cornucopia of musical genres — from Colombian and Indian to New Orleans brass and straight up rock-n-roll. Of course, the thread tying it all together was firmly rooted in Hip Hop. 

Phife Dawg’s mother, esteemed poet Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, and Phife’s widow, Deisha Head-Taylor, were on hand to witness the City of Oakland proclaim May 17 “Phife Dawg Day” as well as revel in the entire performance.

Speaking with HipHopDX, Deisha made it clear the pain of losing Phife is still raw and when the grief is all too consuming, that’s when she’ll visit his Instagram account or old text messages.

“I laugh,” she told DX. “Yeah, it warms my heart to see and remember who he was and what he represented. His antics and just his whole character was just amazing and just funny at times. I smile.”

But there are days when it feels like she’s living in the Twilight Zone. Phife was only 45 when he passed away on March 22, 2016 and nothing could’ve prepare Deisha for the profound loss.

“To be honest, it’s still hard,” she admitted. “It’s still surreal, unreal, and I still have moments where I have emotional outbursts. The pain just never leaves. It’s a huge chunk of your heart that just … it feels like it’s gone, and it’s empty now. Sometimes I’ll look at pictures. I’ll go on his Instagram account. He stayed on Instagram [laughs].

“I am the Phifer, right? Sometimes I’ll go to those, and I’ll look at those, and then I’ll start smiling. When I have certain moments, sometimes I’ll go to text messages of things he would send me. I just reminisce to get through the healing.”

Deisha also looks for strength in Phife’s mother. Before Cheryl joined the conversation, she explained, “I’ll call Cheryl and we get through it together. When I hear her voice sometimes, it lifts me up. Because I’m like, ‘OK, she’s the closest to him.’

“I hold on to her sometimes for strength. Sometimes when I’m going through it, I’ll call her. She’s like, ‘Hey, Deish, how you doing?’ That instantly perks me up. But it’s very difficult. It’s still difficult.”

When Cheryl walked in to the green room, her likeness to Phife was almost shocking. There’s no doubt where the Tribe MC came from and where he got his penchant for stringing words together. Her energy instantly set the room at ease while her warm smile brought a sense of peace.

“I haven’t gotten through it,” Cheryl said. “It’s still a day-by-day process, but I know he would want me to continue my work. I am a professional poet and writer, so I withdrew from a lot of my performing and teaching and things like that. That was very helpful. I’ve been in therapy for the last two-and-a-half years and writing.

“I’ve just written a memoir [Mama Phife Represent] about our family and our life together. That has been very helpful in a way but also feels naked because our lives have been like an open book. I know we signed up for that, but still to mourn in public is no joke.”

However hard it may be, Cheryl is eternally grateful for the countless people who recognize what an invaluable contribution and impact her son made on the world. The Tribute To A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders event is a shining example.

“That has been the highlight of some of the healing, the highlight that he was a good man,” Cheryl said. “We knew it — no jail or drugs or 10 baby mommas. This is a man who prayed before he ate his meal and he didn’t care where he was, what restaurant, what high class, it didn’t matter. He was like that.

“This is a guy who kept his childhood friends from grammar school. We have always known that he was doing his best. I mean, he was human, but that he was trying his best to be a good person. To see that acknowledged, that’s been really, really amazing.”

Deisha feels similarly. Phife’s career started to take shape in 1985 when he was only 15, meaning for three decades he was able to live and thrive off his music. In fact, Cheryl laughed when she said he only had one “regular” job — a fast-food position at Stuf’t Potato.

In the Taylor household, you had to either be in school or work, so when Phife approached her and stated he wanted to join Tribe, she had to oblige. Plus, she said it brought him out of a darker period of his life.

“His dad and I were going through a divorce, and that was a really difficult time for him,” Cheryl recalled. “I saw the sadness in him, and I saw his light go out. For the first time, when he told me about rapping with Tribe, I saw a light coming back on in him. When he was six years old, my mother helped him to memorize Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘I Have A Dream’ speech. He did it at a cotillion.

“We’ve seen this in him from the very beginning. When that light goes out, you see that, too. You’re helpless as to what to do. You try everything, but it’s up to them how they come out of it. It was the music that brought him out.”

Deisha added, “I look at the fact that he had a complete career because he started so young. I always think to myself, ‘How many people can say that they were in the business for that long?’ He lived a full life. Even though he passed away young, in my eyes, he still lived a full life as far as his career. He earned platinum and gold albums, and he was well-known around the world.

“This [event] keeps us going. Just to say, ‘Wow, this is all for him.’ If he was here and this was going on, he would be performing. That’s just who he was. He didn’t care. He always said ‘I love Hip Hop, it’s culture, and the fans. He loved everything about music.”

When Deisha and Cheryl are together, their bond is instantly recognizable. They both suffered an impossible loss and continue to lift each other up. In the wake of Phife’s passing, Cheryl had endless empathy for her daughter-in-law despite also losing her son.

The event in San Francisco was also further proof just how much The Funky Diabetic meant to Hip Hop, something she feels he didn’t always get credit for during his time on earth.

“I’m honored and lucky,” Cheryl said. “He deserved this so much, and he did not always get this in his career. For those people who thought he didn’t work as hard as Q-Tip, that’s not true. When he was on tour and doing peritoneal dialysis four times a day and jumping onstage, you would never know. For people who say things like that, they don’t have a clue.

“Sometimes Malik would be sick and I would come out. Deisha and David [son] would be in the bed trying to get some sleep with him because it was late at night. She had to go to work the next day. People don’t know the half of what they speak and what Deisha had to go through. I say all the time that, yes, I’m sad. I loved my son. But my biggest pain was for this girl right here [points to Deisha]. I was like, ‘How does this happen?’”

We may never have the answers to those questions and Cheryl barely had time to even ponder why her son passed, but there are moments when it’s a little easier to understand. One particular time was during a memorial for Phife at the Apollo Theater in New York City shortly after he made his transition.

“I didn’t have time to get there [to the why] because they had a memorial at the Apollo, and the person who spoke said that some people just come here to do their work,” she said. “You see, like Bob Marley. You see like, Jimi Hendrix. They made this big splash with their work.

“Then I said that night, ‘Oh ok, so that’s what it is.’ He came here to do some work, and he’s done it. With the life he lived and things he’s done, I mean, there are people 95 years old that haven’t done the things he has.”

At one point in the evening, Cheryl read two poems about her revered son, which brought many people in the audience to tears. But despite the heavy context, the overwhelming sense of community and love reverberated everywhere. As Cheryl and Deisha continue on their path to healing, they both understand it’s not a process that makes any sense. Emotions come and go like the tides.

“It varies,” Cheryl said. “Sometimes I’m fine. Last night [during opening night], I was fine until they put up his first grade picture. It was like you never know what will trigger it, but you have to feel that in order for it to pass.”

Mama Phife Represent will hopefully be released next year.

In the meantime, cop the A Tribute To A Tribe Called Quest album here and check out DX in the coming week for Part II of the interview, which details the status on Phife’s posthumous solo album.


Oakland Declares May 17 Malik ‘Phife Dawg’ Taylor Day

The late A Tribe Called Quest rapper spent the last 15 years of his life in Oakland, where his wife is originally from.

The late Phife Dawg has been honored with his very own day in Oakland, California.

Oakland has declared May 17 “Phife Dawg Day” following an event that honored A Tribe Called Quest in San Francisco, according to HipHopDX. Phife’s mother, Cheryl Boyce Taylor, his widow, Deisha Head Taylor, and producer Starita (who engineered Tribe’s last album We Got It From Here… Thank You 4 Your Service) were present at the event. The honoring was a part of a tribute event dubbed A Tribute To A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders.

“A Tribe Called Quest is being celebrated this week with Bay Area bands, producers and artists celebrating the group’s groundbreaking album Midnight Marauders,” Starita read. “Now, therefore be it, we proclaim Friday, May 17, 2019 is Malik ‘Phife Dawg’ Taylor Day.”

The tribute was a three-day event that took place at San Francisco’s YBCA. The lineup for the event included the Awesöme Orchestra, MJ’s Brass Boppers, Gift of Gab, La Gente, Royal Jelly Jive, Lagos Roots, and others.

Phife spent the last years of his life Oakland, where Deisha was originally from. Phife died at the age of 45 from complications relating to diabetes.

Now, aside from having his own day, the late rapper also has his own street sign at Linden Boulevard at 192nd Street in the St. Albans neighborhood of Queens, New York City. The site is where the music video for Tribe’s “Check The Rhyme” was filmed.

Source: HipHopDX

City Of Oakland Honors Phife Dawg With His Very Own Day

Ambrosia For Heads – Malik ‘Phife Dawg’ Taylor Day In Oaktown

Phife Dawg was a product of Queens, New York who represented for his borough and St. Albans section throughout his 25-plus-year music career. However, the co-founder of A Tribe Called Quest also lived other places during his 45 years of life.

One place Malik Taylor made his home was Oakland, California. That Bay Area city declared May 17 to be Phife Dawg Day entering this weekend. According to HipHopDX‘s Kyle Eustice, who was on hand for a ceremony including musical collaborator/Tribe album producer Starita, Phife’s mother Cheryl Boyce Taylor and the MC/producer’s widow Deisha Head Taylor.

Read the full article here…

A New Phife Dawg Album Is Coming & The 1st Song Shows Why He Is Forever (Video)

Per the report, The “5-Foot Assassin” made Oakland his home for more than 15 years. During that time, he was often an attendee at Golden State Warriors basketball games. That team is currently competing in the Western Conference Finals.

Reportedly local artists and musicians are honoring Phife this week in tribute. On March 22, 2016, Taylor died from kidney complications after a longtime and publicized diabetes diagnosis.

Phife Loved Hip-Hop, But Hip-Hop Needed Him (Video)

A posthumous Phife Dawg album is in the works, including a confirmed collaborative song with Redman and fellow Native Tongues alum Busta Rhymes. Late last year, Phife appeared alongside The Black Eyed Peas, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and De La Soul’s Posdnous on single “ALL AROUND THE WORLD.”

In 2016, the Queens, New York block of Linden Boulevard and 192th Street was re-named Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor Way.

Oakland, California Declares May 17 To Be Phife Dawg Day

HipHopDX Premiere: UnderCover Presents – A Tribute to A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Midnight Marauders’

April 26, 2019 HipHopDX exclusively premiered the UnderCover Presents – Tribute to A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Midnight Marauders’ album. Check it out!

HipHopDX Premiere – A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders turned 25 last November, but the classic album is still celebrated no matter what day it is. Serving as ATCQ’s third studio album and follow-up to 1991’s The Low End Theory, the project bridged the gap between Hip Hop and jazz, much like Guru did with the Jazzmatazz series.

In honor of the Tribe masterpiece, the Bay Area UnderCover Presents collective has sewn together a tribute, the appropriately titled A Tribute To A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders. 

Founder Lyz Luke explains to HipHopDX, “If there was ever a time to release a tribute album to A Tribe Called Quest’s ‘Midnight Marauders,’ that time would be NOW,” says Lyz Luke. “In order to do this right and fully represent ATCQ, I knew we needed to bring in Starita as music producer, based upon his deep production experience across a multitude of genres in addition to his relationship and work with Phife Dawg and ATCQ.

“Apart from this album being released digitally, this is the first time in the history of UnderCover where we will be releasing a double vinyl to commemorate ATCQ and Phife Dawg.”

The 14-track effort boasts appearances from 13 local bands from a wide range of genres, seven MCs, over 100 artists, nine engineers, five music studios and a vinyl pressing plant. Blackalicious’ Gift Of Gab, Lateef The Truthspeaker and vocalist Gina Madrid are just three of the many whose fingerprints are on the project.

“When Lyz first approached me to work on this project, I instantly knew there were some critical pillars that we needed to uphold in order for this tribute album to resonate,” Starita adds. “Let’s be clear. This work is sacrilegious. This is a tribute album, not a cover album. This is already a perfect album. There’s nothing to re-make.

“To introduce this classic record to new audiences, our goal was to pay homage by pulling together the best of the best artists to make an album of re-interpreted songs representing the full breadth of the imagination that is ATCQ’s music.”

In conjunction with the album’s digital release, the Yerba Buena Center For The Arts in San Francisco will play host to three shows May 16-18 that will incorporate elements from all four pillars of hip-hop: DJing, MCing, graffiti and B-Boying (breakdancing), along with the minimalism and free-form nature of jazz instrumentation.

The city has proclaimed that week “A Tribe Called Quest Week” and will present Phife Dawg’s wife and other family members with “PhifeDay.”

Read the full premiere here…

Check out the album here, grab the vinyl here!