Phife Dawg of 'A Tribe Called Quest' dead at 45

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Phife Dawg, or Malik Isaac Taylor, has died at 45 years old according to several entertainment publications.

Taylor was a founding member of the hit 1990s rap trio, A Tribe Called Quest. He'd had health issues for years, and underwent a kidney transplant in 2008 to deal with a longtime battle with Type 1 diabetes, according to Rolling Stone.

The music industry publication says it has confirmed Taylor's death although a formal statement from representatives of the rapper has not yet been released.

According to A Tribe Called Quest's official website:

"Phife was the battle hungry emcee who had witty punch lines and an uncanny knowledge of sports. Sports played a major role in Phife’s career. He was the first to wear throwback jerseys in the early 90’s, a trend that would catch on 11 years later. Phife not only rapped about sports, he lived it. He considers himself the one person who was truly able to bridge the gap between music and sports."

The rap group was known for mega-hits including 'Scenario,' 'Can I Kick It?' and 'Award Tour.'

People are taking to Instagram and Twitter to share their memories of Phife.

 

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!

A photo posted by Questlove Gomez (@questlove) on

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