One of the founding members of legendary rap group A Tribe Called Quest died yesterday at the age of 45 after a long battle with diabetes, among other health issues.
Malik Isaac Taylor, better known as his stage name Phife Dawg, reportedly died on Tuesday at the age of 45, according to Rolling Stone. He was an influential founding member of the group A Tribe Called Quest.
Taylor’s family later confirmed the news of his death in a statement, revealing that the rapper died of “complications resulting from diabetes.”
Malik was our loving husband, father, brother and friend. We love him dearly. How he impacted all our lives will never be forgotten. His love for music and sports was only surpassed by his love of God and family.”
Dion Liverpool, his manager adds, “While I mourn the loss of my best friend and brother, I also will celebrate his incredible life and contribution to many people’s ears across the world. Even with all his success, I have never met a person as humble as he. He taught me that maintaining a positive attitude and outlook can conquer anything. Now my brother is resting in greatness. I’m honored to have crossed paths with him. Riddim Kidz 4eva.”
The family asks that their privacy be respected at this difficult time.
Taylor dealt with various health issues over the years. In 2008, he underwent a kidney transplant after complications with diabetes.
In the late ‘80s, Phife Dawg co-founded the hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest with Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White. The group often mixed jazz and other genres into their productions, which resulted in their now-iconic sound. With their lyrics, ATCQ challenged the stereotypes of hip-hop music. The group rapped about everything from the serious issue of date rape to the more mundane topic of ham and eggs.
The group released five studio albums, including 1991’s “The Low End Theory” and 1993’s “Midnight Marauders.” They released their last album, “The Love Movement,” in 1998 after a few breakups and reunions. The legendary group was also the subject of a 2011 documentary called “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest,” directed by Michael Rapaport.
Taylor, who was also known as the “Five Foot Assassin,” put out one solo album, “Ventilation: Da LP,” in 2000. Before his death, he was working on a second, which he described to Rolling Stone as “basically my life story.“
Fans of Phife Dawg have taken to Twitter to share their thoughts and pay tribute to the rapper. Phife’s impact on the music industry is undeniable.
His group members finally issues a joint statement by late Wednesday evening according to Rolling Stone.
“Our hearts are heavy. We are devastated. This is something we weren’t prepared for although we all know that life is fleeting. It was no secret about his health and his fight. But the fight for his joy and happiness gave him everything he needed,” the group said in the statement. “The fight to keep his family happy, his soul happy and those around him happy, gave him complete and unadulterated joy…until he heeded his father’s call.”
“We love his family, his mother, his son, his wife, his nieces, his family here in New York, Atlanta, California and Trinidad,” the group continued. “Thank you for the outpouring of prayers and support from the fans, fellow artists, music outlets, blogs, radio stations, DJs, social media and the media community at large. This too is part of his joy and means a lot to him.”
After news of Taylor’s death spread on Wednesday, tributes continued throughout the day from all corners of the world from a range of artists, from Questlove and Chuck D, to Kendrick Lamar who paid tribute to the rapper during his show in Sydney, Australia.
“His family is overwhelmed by the support, well wishes and are thankful. His music and what he’s contributed is seismic and hard to measure. He’s affected us as much as he’s affected all of you,” the group wrote. “We’re inspired by his daily joy and courage. He wasn’t in pain. He was happy. We take comfort in knowing he will be beside his grandmother.”