Malik Taylor, the rapper known as Phife Dawg whose nimble, clever rhymes helped launch A Tribe Called Quest to both commercial and critical success, died Tuesday at the age of 45 from complications resulting from diabetes. Rolling Stone has confirmed the rapper’s death.
Taylor had had health issues for years, undergoing a kidney transplant in 2008 to deal with a longtime battle with diabetes. “It’s really a sickness,” Taylor said in Beats, Rhymes & Life, Michael Rapaport’s candid 2011 documentary on the group. “Like straight-up drugs. I’m just addicted to sugar.”
“Malik was our loving husband, father, brother and friend,” his family said in a statement. “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.”
“Family, my heart is shattered at the loss of my beautiful son,” Taylor’s mom Cheryl Boyce-Taylor wrote on facebook. “Thank you for your love and good wishes. Malik made me so proud, and he was a good and humble son. What holds me is that he brought joy through his music and sports, and that he lived a magical life. He is with his beloved grandmother and his twin brother Mikal today. God bless you Malik Boyce Taylor. Please send prayers to my daughter-in-law Deisha.”
Our sincere condolences go out to Phife’s family. He’s a legend and will be missed!!
Pop The hood on this Tribe Called Quest classic.