Thursday 22 March 2018

A Tribe Called Quest rapper Phife Dawg dies aged 45

Malik Isaac Taylor, aka Phife Dawg, has died aged 45 (AP)
Malik Isaac Taylor, aka Phife Dawg, has died aged 45 (AP)

Rapper Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest has died at the age of 45 due to complications arising from diabetes, his family have confirmed.

The US musician, real name Malik Isaac Taylor, had been struggling with ill health for a number of years.

In 2008, he received a kidney transplant from his wife.

"I'm just addicted to sugar," Taylor admitted in Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest, Michael Rapaport's 2011 documentary on the pioneering group.

In a statement, the family talked of their "loving husband, father, brother and friend".

"We regret to share the news that on Tuesday March 22nd, 2016, Malik has passed away due to complications resulting from diabetes," the statement said.

"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."

Taylor's manager Dion Liverpool added: "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."

Liverpool continued: "Now my brother is resting in greatness. I'm honoured to have crossed paths with him. Riddim Kidz 4eva."

The family asked for their privacy to be respected.

Producer and broadcaster DJ Chuck Chillout posted an RIP message about Taylor's death in the early hours of Wednesday morning on Twitter.

Born in 1970, Taylor co-founded A Tribe Called Quest in 1985 with his classmates Q-Tip ( Kamaal Ibn John Fareed, who was born Jonathan Davis) and Ali Shaheed Muhammad.

Award-winning A Tribe Called Quest were viewed as an alternative to the gangsta rap popularised in the later part of the 1980s by groups like N.W.A.

Their melodic sound and eclectic influences, from famous jazz figures to rockers like Lou Reed, made them more radio-friendly and accessible to a wider audience.

A Tribe Called Quest's biggest UK hit came in 1991 with the single Can I Kick It?, which peaked at number 15.

The group released five studio albums between 1990 and 1998, with The Low End Theory in 1991 receiving a good deal of critical acclaim.

A Tribe Called Quest split in 1998 but they reunited several times, including for an appearance on Kanye West's Yeezus tour in 2013.

The band recently reformed to perform their smash hit Can I Kick It? on Jimmy Fallon's US chat show in 2015.

Taylor, also known as the "Five Foot Assassin" because he stood at 5ft 3in, released his debut solo album Ventilation: Da LP in 2000.

BBC Radio 1xtra's Trevor Nelson tweeted: " Hip hop just lost a hero. I can't rhyme but I tried listening to Phife Dawg. Still bump you in my ride on a regular. Rip. #legendary".

Rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy was among those paying tribute. Taylor, he said, was "a true fire social narrator".

Press Association

Entertainment Newsletter

Going out? Staying in? From great gigs to film reviews and listings, entertainment has you covered.

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment