In extremely sad news today, hip hop lost one of its founding fathers, Malik Isaac Taylor aka Phife Dawg aka The Five Foot Assassin, of A Tribe Called Quest. The Hip Hop world is taking Phife's death hard. We've got the outpouring of love inside.
*UPDATE* A Tribe Called Quest put out this statement via Q-Tip:
Our hearts are heavy. We are devastated. This is something we weren’t prepared for although we all know that life is fleeting. It was no secret about his health and his fight. But the fight for his joy and happiness gave him everything he needed. The fight to keep his family happy, his soul happy and those around him happy, gave him complete and unadulterated joy… until he heeded his fathers call. We love his family his mother, his father, his son, his wife, his nieces, his family here in New York, Atlanta, California and Trinidad. Thank you for the outpouring of prayers and support from the fans, fellow artists, music outlets, blogs, radio stations, DJ’s, social media and the music community at large.
This too is part of his joy and means a lot to him. His family is overwhelmed by the support, well wishes and are thankful. His music and what he’s contributed is seismic and hard to measure. He’s affected us as much as he’s affected all of you. We’re inspired by his daily joy and courage. He wasn’t in pain. He was happy.
We take comfort in knowing he will be beside his grandmother.
Today, Phife Dawg, co-founder and original member of pioneering rap group A Tribe Called Quest, passed away at 45. His family and his manager, Dion Liverpool, confirmed the death and said the cause was complications from diabetes.
According to the 2011 ATCQ reunion tour documentary, “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest,” the legendary rapper ("Scenario," "Bonita Applebum," "Can I Kick It?" "Butter") had a sugar addiction which resulted in needing a kidney transplant in 2008.
The family said in a statement about the unexpected loss:
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.”
“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.”
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!
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...
The last time I saw Phife was November 2015 when ATCQ was promoting the 25th anniversary of People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm! I walked into the lobby of @siriusxm & ran into my old friends, I immediately cursed them out for not doing my show, lol! They told me to come to the party they were hosting over the weekend at Santos to celebrate 25yrs, I'm so glad I went! I'm so glad I bore witness to Phife receiving his "flowers", props from hip hop heads & legends alike! Rest In Peace, Malik the 5ft Freak @iamthephifer you will be missed but NEVER FORGOTTEN!
My personal testimony as to how timeless ATCQ is is that independently, my 19, 18 and 14 yr old sons listen to Tribe on their own. #RIPPhife
— Old Man Combat (@Combat_Jack) March 23, 2016
RIP Phife. He was a key ingredient to one of the greatest groups ever. Influenced and touched so many lives, mine included..Tribe all day
— Macklemore (@macklemore) March 23, 2016
— tabi Bonney (@tabiBonney) March 23, 2016
Phife-HipHop & Rap word Warrior, simple as that.Breathed it & lined rhyme into Sport.A true fire Social Narrator my bro #RIBeats ATCQforever
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) March 23, 2016
"Trini gladiator /anti hesitator /Shaheed push the fader / from here to Grenada" #RIPPhife ...
— Estelle (@EstelleDarlings) March 23, 2016
Damn. #RIPPhife one of the greatest to bless the mic
— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) March 23, 2016
R. I. P. my. Dawg. Linden to linden warren g used to bang that before we had a deal pic.twitter.com/SUwbl9yhyS
— Snoop Dogg (@SnoopDogg) March 23, 2016
Can I kick it? #RIPPhifeDawg thank you for all of your contributions to hip hop - you'll always be remembered.
— Eve (@TheRealEve) March 23, 2016
— Laz Alonso (@lazofficial) March 23, 2016
— REAL 92.3 LA (@Real923LA) March 23, 2016
Kendrick Phife Chant Pt. 2 (Sydney Allphones) pic.twitter.com/C4wcJUTJ7J
— DJ Smitty (@DJSmittyAus) March 23, 2016
Kendrick Phife Chant Pt. 3 (Sydney Allphones) pic.twitter.com/vd0c4rzJAA
— DJ Smitty (@DJSmittyAus) March 23, 2016