We’re very sad to hear the news about the passing of Tribe Called Quest member Malik Isaac Taylor, best known as Phife Dawg. We loved Q Tip, but the Five Foot Assassin was always our favorite Native Tongue member. He was 45.
Rapper Phife Dawg, a member of rap pioneers A Tribe Called Quest, has died at the age of 45. The musician had been struggling with ill health and diabetes for several years, and received a kidney transplant from his wife in 2008. Born Malik Isaac Taylor in 1970, he co-founded the philosophically-focused rap group in 1985 with his classmates Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad…
The band recently reformed to perform the song on Jimmy Fallon’s US chat show, as they marked the 25th anniversary of their debut album People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. News of Phife Dawg’s death emerged on Twitter, where producer and broadcaster DJ Chuck Chillout posted an RIP message in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Rolling Stone magazine later confirmed his death, although an official statement has yet to be released.
A native New Yorker, Phife appeared on all five of A Tribe Called Quest’s albums, acting as a punchy foil to the more mellifluous Q-Tip on tracks like Check The Rhime and Scenario.
He nicknamed himself the Funky Diabetic and the Five Foot Assassin – a reference to his diminutive stature – and his self-deprecating swagger became one of the band’s trademarks.
Thanks for the music. Fuck, you were too young.