A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg Dead At 45

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I like ‘em brown, yellow, Puerto Rican and Haitian/Name is Phife Dawg from the Zulu Nation.

The Hip-Hop community has been shaken to its core at the unexpected news, Phife Dawg, from legendary rap group A Tribe Called Quest died Wednesday. (March 23) He was 45.

Phife, real name Malik Taylor, began trending on Twitter in the wee morning hours, with many hip-hop heavyweights and fans sharing their condolences and respect for the legendary lyricist.

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While the cause of Phife Dawg’s death is still unknown, the Jamaica, Queens native has had health issues for years and underwent a kidney transplant in 2008 to combat his Type 1 Diabetes, which he famously placed in his lyrics, calling himself  “The Funky Diabetic.”

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.

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Last November, Tribe re-released their debut album for the 25th anniversary and performed “Can I Kick It” on The Tonight Show. Unfortunately, the performance would prove to be the last time the group would all perform together.

Rest easy, Phife Dawg