One of the all-time hip hop legends passed away earlier this morning. Malik Taylor – the Five Foot Assassin, Phife Dawg – was a type 1 diabetic and had undergone a kidney transplant in 2008. While the cause of death is unknown at this time, it’s likely because of something along those lines.
Phife Dawg went to high school in Queens and formed a hip hop group with his friends Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. That group was A Tribe Called Quest, and they went on to put out five albums in the Nineties that bridge the gap between the Golden Age sounds of the Eighties and the modern presence of funk and jazz in hip hop. Of those five, The Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders are among the thousand best albums ever recorded.
Phife himself had a funky, snappy style that bounced back and forth between laid-back jokes and veiled savagery. He was far from a bully and he wasn’t a punk. RIP.