Damn, we really didn’t want to believe this one was true, but the news seems to be confirmed at this point. It’s with heavy hearts that we report that legendary emcee and overall amazing human being Malik Isaac Taylor, also known as Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest has passed away. Phife has transitioned to a better place at the age of only 45.
The sports loving, witty MC had been battling health issues for years. At the age of 20, the lyricist was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, most famously making this known through his “Funky Diabetic” line from “Oh My God.” Phife would later have complications with his kidneys shortly afterwards. In 2000, he was placed on a hemodialysis machine and was hospitalized two years later. Eventually, in 2008, the “Five Foot Assassin” received a kidney transplant from his wife and was regaining his health as the group celebrated its royal place in hip-hop.
Known for his subtle double entendres, helium-high voice and devastatingly clever punchlines, Phife will sorely be missed by all those who love hip-hop and the culture. As a member of one of the most influential groups in modern American music, he shone like a beacon on tracks like “Butter,” which featured his solo vocal performance; “Check The Rhime” and “Scenario,” where he went toe-to-toe with a young lyrical dragon known as Busta Rhymes.
As a group, A Tribe Called Quest performed their last hurrah as an opening act for Kanye West, yet they did reform to perform on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to celebrate the 25th anniversary of People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. The amount of love, honor and respect from those within the hip-hop community is flooding social media.
Phife’s Manager Dion Liverpool AKA DJ Rasta Root has shared the following official statement from Malik’s family
The family of A Tribe Called Quest member, Phife, also known as Malik I. Taylor, has released a statement announcing that he has died, aged 45.
“We regret to share the news that on Tuesday March 22nd, 2016, Malik has passed away due to complications resulting from diabetes.
Malik was our loving husband, father, brother and friend. We love him dearly. How he impacted all our lives will never be forgotten. His love for music and sports was only surpassed by his love of God and family.”
Dion Liverpool, his manager adds, “While I mourn the loss of my best friend and brother, I also will celebrate his incredible life and contribution to many people’s ears across the world. Even with all his success, I have never met a person as humble as he. He taught me that maintaining a positive attitude and outlook can conquer anything. Now my brother is resting in greatness. I’m honored to have crossed paths with him. Riddim Kidz 4eva.”
The family asks that their privacy be respected at this difficult time.