Questlove Leads Tributes to Phife Dawg
Hip-hop star Questlove leads tributes to late A Tribe Called Quest star Phife Dawg following news of his death.
The rapper, real name Malik Taylor, has passed away aged 45, according to posts on Twitter. No official statement has been released and his cause of death has not been revealed.
Once news of his death began circulating, the tributes began pouring in from stars, including Chuck D and Snoop Dogg, on social media, and The Roots’ star Questlove wrote a lengthy Instagram post thanking Dawg for inspiring his decision to make hip-hop/rap music.
Phife forever 1970-2016. 1991 in Sept I went to visit Tariq at Millersville U in the middle of PA (Lancaster). Miles Davis had just passed & I went on a binge to study his post jazz works. Went to Sound Of Market to purchase Nefertiti, In A Silent Way & Live Evil—the only non jazz purchase I made that day ironically was the most jazziest album in that collection: #TheLowEndTheory by @ATCQ. —it was raining that day so somehow the 1…2 punch of "Nefertiti"/"Fall" just had me in a trance that train trip—even though I suspected there was a possibility that Tribe could possibly have made a better album then their debut (the perfect @@@@@ mic Source rating would be on stands in a week so I was right)—but I knew I wanted to save that listening for when I got up to the campus w Riq.—so some 90mins later when I get to his dorm–we ripped that bad boy open (I can't describe the frustration that was CD packaging in 1991, just imagine the anger that environmentalists feel when all that paper packaging in Beats headphone gets wasted—it's like that)—the sign of a true classic is when a life memory is burnt in your head because of the first time you hear a song. —Riq & I had this moment a few times, but the look on our faces when we 1st heard "Buggin Out" was prolly Me & Tariq's greatest "rewind selector!" moment in our friendship. (Back then every MC's goal was to have that "rewind!!!" moment. As in to say something so incredible. Or to catch you by surprise that it makes you go "DAAAAAYUM!!!"& you listen over & over—Malik "Phife" Taylor's verse was such a gauntlet/flag planting moment in hip hop. Every hip hop head was just…stunned HE. CAME. FOR. BLOOD & was taking NO prisoners on this album (or ever again) we just kept looking at the speaker on some disbelief old timey radio Suspense episode. & also at each other "Phife is KILLIN!"–by the time we got to "Scenario" I swear to god THAT was the moment I knew I wanted to make THIS type of music when I grew up–(yeah yeah dad I know: "go to Juilliard or Curtis to make a nice living at "real music") but he didn't know that Phife & his crew already wrote my destiny. I ain't look back since. THANK YOU PHIFE!
He describes the first time he listened to the band’s second album The Low End Theory, and the song “Buggin’ Out,” with bandmate Tariq Trotter, and writes, “The sign of a true classic is when a life memory is burnt in your head because of the first time you hear a song… Riq & I had this moment a few times, but the look on our faces when we 1st heard ‘Buggin Out’ was prolly (sic) Me & Tariq’s greatest ‘rewind selector!’ moment in our friendship…
“Malik ‘Phife’ Taylor’s verse was such a gauntlet/flag planting moment in hip hop. Every hip hop head was just…stunned HE. CAME. FOR. BLOOD & was taking NO prisoners on this album (or ever again) we just kept looking at the speaker on some disbelief…
“By the time we got to ‘Scenario’ I swear to god THAT was the moment I knew I wanted to make THIS type of music when I grew up… Phife & his crew already wrote my destiny. I ain’t look back since. THANK YOU PHIFE!”
Rapper Macklemore also added a tribute.
RIP Phife. He was a key ingredient to one of the greatest groups ever. Influenced and touched so many lives, mine included..Tribe all day
— GEMINI (@macklemore) March 23, 2016
Singer Jill Scott posted:
So incredibly sad to hear the Great Phife Dawg of Tribe Called Quest has passed away at only 45 yrs. GREAT MC. Sincere Love and Respect.
— ⭐Jill Scott⭐ (@missjillscott) March 23, 2016
Tributes were not limited to music stars, with actress Kerry Washington tweeting, “Huge loss today. A legend. A NY hip-hop originator. #RIPPhifeDawg Sending love to his close friends and fam. Today we are all in the Tribe,” while Chris Rock used lyrics from Tribe’s track “Electric Relaxation,” writing, “I like brown ,yellow (sic) Puerto Rican or Haitian name is phife dog from the Zulu nation. Rip Phife.”
Russell Simmons simply posted, “Damn. #RIPPhife one of the greatest to bless the mic,” and Empire star Taraji P. Henson took to Instagram to write, “My heart is sad! We lost a great one #RIP #PhifeDog you will be missed. Thank you for the music that will live on FOREVER!!! #FOREVERWITHUS MY GOD!”
Other tributes came in from Mark Ronson, Sean Lennon, Good Charlotte’s Joel Madden, Solange Knowles, Elijah Wood and Don Cheadle.
Dawg’s former bandmates Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Jarobi White have yet to comment on his death.