Hip-hop wouldn't be what it is today without A Tribe Called Quest and founding member, Malik "Phife Dawg" Taylor. Sadly, it has been announced that Phife has passed away at the age of 45. Other rappers and hip-hop icons have reacted to the death on Twitter.
According to BBC, the rapper had had health issues for quite some time. Phife was struggling with Type 1 diabetes and other health issues that affected the diabetes and vice versa. He had also received a kidney transplant from his wife back in 2008. But all and all, he remained strong and positive. According to Billboard, Phife became a diabetes advocate and eventually told his story in the famous documentary, Beats, Rhymes and Life, which came out in 2012.
A Tribe Called Quest came together in 1980s and consisted of Phife Dawg, Jonathan "Q-Tip" Davis, DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammed and Jarobi White. Their first album, People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, dropped in 1990 and that was the start of a beatiful relationship between ATCQ and hip-hop. The group released five albums in total which included the extremely famous album, Midnight Marauders. Phife even released his own album, Ventilation: Da LP, back in 2000.
According to Pitchfork, the last time ATCQ performed together was back in November of 2015 when the group blessed the stage of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The group performed their hit track, "Can I Kick It?" Phife's verse was like something unheard before: "I instruct you to be the obeyer/A rhythm recipe that you'll savor/Doesn't matter if you're minor or major/Yes, the Tribe of the game we're a player/As you inhale like a breath of fresh air." Phife had a way of rapping on a topic that made fans really think. There were never just empty lyrics with his verses.
Friends and fans of Phife hit up Twitter to express their condolences:
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
Confirmed. rest in peace Phife. Man. I'm out. — Statik Selektah (@StatikSelekt) March 23, 2016
REST IN PEACE PHIFE https://t.co/6Zf5TfyvXP
— el-p (@therealelp) March 23, 2016
Rest in peace to the The Five Foot Assassin! His lyricism and ability to flow as he did, could never be replaced by any other.