Few MCs leave the outsized footprint that Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor made on hip-hop history. The Queens native and “A Tribe Called Quest” founding member made art out of his braggadocio, turning his height and issues with type 1 diabetes into some of the genre’s most memorable rhymes. Today (March 23), hip-hop nation mourns Phife Dawg’s death at the age of 45.
Though there has been no confirmation of the cause of Phife Dawg’s death, a number of publications suspect it is related to his long-term health struggles. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1990 and had a kidney transplant in 2008. “Like straight-up drugs. I’m just addicted to sugar,” Phife said about his health issues in the 2011 documentary “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest.”
Rest In Beats PHIFE ATCQ Forever pic.twitter.com/jwYNU6YLJ8
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) March 23, 2016
Phife forever 1970-2016. 1991 in Sept I went to visit Tariq at Millersville U in the middle of… https://t.co/WvCdoW71Hn
— Questlove Gomez (@questlove) March 23, 2016
Yeah. I got nothing right now abt this. I’m going to blast Marauders. Live on eternally in energy, Phife.
Dammit. Dammit. I’ll talk later.
— Jean Grae (@JeanGreasy) March 23, 2016
#RIPPhife. Your voice will live forever on A Tribe Called Quest records. You’re another reason I’m proud to say I’m from Queens.
— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) March 23, 2016
To pay our respects, we offer a couple of Phife’s best verses. It’s a “funky introduction” for those unfamiliar, and like water for those of us with the Tribe forever burned in our memories:
Share your favorite Phife Dawg memories and verses in the comments.