Thursday, January 20, 2022

Hip Hop Death: Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest Dies at 45

phife dawg
*Unfortunately, there has been a death in the hip hop family.

On Wednesday (03-23-16), A member of the rap group A Tribe Called Quest, Phife Dawg, passed away. He was 45.

The rapper had to endure serious health problems for years because he was a Type 1 diabetes sufferer. He also underwent a kidney transplant in 2008.

Roots drummer Questlove posted a lengthy tribute to Phife on Instagram, tagging the post as coming from Linden Boulevard … a street in Queens the group frequently mentioned in their songs.

Along with rapper Q-Tip and DJ/producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Tribe was popular in the ’90s with songs like “Scenario,” “Can I Kick It?” and “Award Tour.”

A Tribe Called Quest was formed in the late 1980s and went onto become one of Hip-Hop’s most respected and prized rap trios for their mix of thought-provoking rhymes over jazz infused hip-hop beats. The group would eventually sign with Jive records and released their first album of five studio albums, the classic People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm, in 1990. The act broke up several times and reunited to perform shows here and there, but stopped just short of recording new music.

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




  1. WOW….only 45 … I loved Phife !! I always preferred him over Q-tip in a tribe called quest… and his solo cd’s were awesome! He’ll be missed. Much strength to his family and friends in these hard times!! R.I.P. Phife!!!


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