The hip hop world is reeling after the reported death of Phife Dawg this morning (March 23, 2016).
Born Malik Isaac Taylor, the 45 year-old hip-hop artist was a principal member of influential group A Tribe Called Quest.
Though a cause of death has yet to be released, the rapper had Type 1 diabetes, forcing him to undergo a kidney transplant in 2008. It’s unclear whether he had current health problems related to this condition. A representative for A Tribe Called Quest didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Born Malik Taylor in 1970 in Queens, N.Y., Phife Dawg joined forces with Q-Tip, DJ Ali Muhammad and Jarobi to form the group in the late 1980s. The group released five albums from to 1998, the most popular being their debut, “People’s Instinctive Travels and Paths of Rhythm,” and 1991’s “Low End Theory.”
After the group broke up, Phife Dawg ventured out as a solo artist, releasing one album in 2000: “Ventilation: Da LP.”
The group was subject of a 2011 documentary called “Beats, Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest” by actor Michael Rapaport. Speaking to the Journal that year, Phife Dawg recalled what he saw was the essence of the hip-hop group:
“What it boiled down to is we treated everything like it was important. From production to cadences, flows, we were very particular about that. We didn’t want to sound like anybody else or everybody else. We wanted to be in our own zone — we wanted to be in a league of our own, so to speak, and I think that’s what came out in the music when you heard it.”
Tributes to Phife Dawg flooded Twitter this morning and several celebrities shared memories:
R.I.P Phife Dawg – You will be missed.