Hip-hop has lost one of its great emcees: Phife Dawg from A Tribe Called Quest.
Phife (real name Malik Taylor) had been battling diabetes for some time and underwent a kidney transplant in 2008. He passed away Wednesday at the age of 45.
Instead of mourning, we would like to remember Phife like the true hip-hop legend he was. Back in 2011, we sat down with Michael Rapaport – the director of the Tribe documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life – who said of Q-Tip and Phife:
“He’s an icon! He and Phife Dawg are like superheroes to people who grew up listening to hip-hop. They mean a lot to all of us.”
He’s the type of hero who used his first big check to pay his grandmother’s rent. During an interview, Phife recalled: “My grandmother definitely needed the help, so I would pay her rent back home back in Queens.”
He also went on to reveal how he knew he made it: “When you can take care of your people is the key to success to me, but you have to work hard in order to obtain all of that.”
Spoken like a true superhero.
Take a look back at the life of Malik, the 5 Foot Assassin. Rest In Peace.