Terrace Martin

Image via Terrace Martin

As everyone attempts to process the sad news of Phife Dawg’s passing this week, artists from all over the map (musically and geographically) have expressed how much the storied rapper and his group A Tribe Called Quest meant to them.

Credited with guiding the jazzy direction of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, he says ATCQ is the reason he even got in to making music in the first place.

“Without A Tribe Called Quest there would not be a Terrace Martin,” he told The FADER today. “I wouldn’t even be a musician because ATCQ is what made me want to play the saxophone.”

In step with the heavily jazz-influenced production across ATCQ’s catalog, Martin released an instrumental song called “Tribe Called West” with Keyon Harrold featured on the trumpet. The track (which will be featured on his upcoming album Velvet Portraits) was inspired by a recent trip to the group’s home base, New York City.

“I was inspired by the energy of N.Y. alone to do different types of music. That’s why I love the city. But I also wanted to do something to say thank you to one of my favorite groups. Thank you for letting me know it’s okay to be different. Thank you for turning me on to jazz music.”