Wednesday morning, Hip-Hop lost an icon. Malik Taylor AKA Phife Dawg the founder of A Tribe Called Quest passed away, leaving the music world in shock and awe.
While the cause of his death has yet to be revealed, the lyricist had a longtime battle with Type 1 diabetes and even underwent a kidney transplant in 2008.
Last November, Phife Dawg spoke out about his health issues. “It’s really a sickness,” he said in a 2011 documentary. “Like straight-up drugs. I’m addicted to sugar.”
Public Enemy’s Chuck D and actress Kerry Washington were just some of the celebrities that took to social media to express their condolences:
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Phife didawg… #RIP fam love you brother. You left the world with jewels man. My childhood plays out like a long ass tribe called quest album. Y'all are my friends my peers my comrades my brothers … I don't know what to say except… Damn. Rest well my nig. #lowendtheory #nowheresafunkyintroductionofhowniceiam…
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Phife forever 1970-2016. 1991 in Sept I went to visit Tariq at Millersville U in the middle of PA (Lancaster). Miles Davis had just passed & I went on a binge to study his post jazz works. Went to Sound Of Market to purchase Nefertiti, In A Silent Way & Live Evil—the only non jazz purchase I made that day ironically was the most jazziest album in that collection: #TheLowEndTheory by @ATCQ. —it was raining that day so somehow the 1…2 punch of "Nefertiti"/"Fall" just had me in a trance that train trip—even though I suspected there was a possibility that Tribe could possibly have made a better album then their debut (the perfect @@@@@ mic Source rating would be on stands in a week so I was right)—but I knew I wanted to save that listening for when I got up to the campus w Riq.—so some 90mins later when I get to his dorm–we ripped that bad boy open (I can't describe the frustration that was CD packaging in 1991, just imagine the anger that environmentalists feel when all that paper packaging in Beats headphone gets wasted—it's like that)—the sign of a true classic is when a life memory is burnt in your head because of the first time you hear a song. —Riq & I had this moment a few times, but the look on our faces when we 1st heard "Buggin Out" was prolly Me & Tariq's greatest "rewind selector!" moment in our friendship. (Back then every MC's goal was to have that "rewind!!!" moment. As in to say something so incredible. Or to catch you by surprise that it makes you go "DAAAAAYUM!!!"& you listen over & over—Malik "Phife" Taylor's verse was such a gauntlet/flag planting moment in hip hop. Every hip hop head was just…stunned HE. CAME. FOR. BLOOD & was taking NO prisoners on this album (or ever again) we just kept looking at the speaker on some disbelief old timey radio Suspense episode. & also at each other "Phife is KILLIN!"–by the time we got to "Scenario" I swear to god THAT was the moment I knew I wanted to make THIS type of music when I grew up–(yeah yeah dad I know: "go to Juilliard or Curtis to make a nice living at "real music") but he didn't know that Phife & his crew already wrote my destiny. I ain't look back since. THANK YOU PHIFE!
RIP to the “five foot freak.” Team Beautiful sends their condolences to Phife’s family and friends at this time.