Phife Dawg, of the rap group A Tribe Called Quest has died at the age of 45. An official statement has yet to be released but DJ Chuck Chillout posted a RIP Tweet on Wednesday morning, and Rolling Stone magazine confirmed the death later that day.
The rapper, born Malik Isaac Taylor in Queens NY, suffered from Type 2 diabetes and received a kidney transplant in 2008.
Phife and his classmates Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad formed Tribe in 1985, turning out hits that would define the philosophical rap of the early 90s -“Can I Kick It?” “Bonita Applebum,” and “Check The Rhime.” A fourth member, Jarobi White, left the group shortly after the release of their first album in 1991.
Rapper Chuck D sums it up best in his tribute tweet: “Phife — Hip Hop & Rap word Warrior, simple as that. Breathed it & lined rhyme into Sport. A true fire Social Narrator my bro.”