The world lost yet another stunning talent in 2016, when A Tribe Called Quest rapper Phife Dawg died of unknown causes. We wanted to learn more about this amazing artist, whose light was dimmer far too soon. Click through for five things to know about Phife Dawg!
A Tribe Called Quest member Phife Dawg passed away at the too-young age of 45 on March 23, leaving a gaping hole in the hearts of hip-hop lovers around the world. Though A Tribe Called Quest has been kickin’ it since the ’80s, there’s still much to learn about the late rapper. Click through for five important facts about Phife!
He started A Tribe Called Quest in high school
Phife (real name Malik Isaac Taylor) got together with his classmates Q-Tip (Kamaal Ibn John Fareed) and Ali Shaheed Muhammad in 1985, and together they formed their legendary band! They had a major national hit just six years later, in 1991 with “Can I Kick It?” Phife performed on all five of A Tribe Called Quest’s albums.
Phife wasn’t his only nickname
Sure, he was already christened with a nickname when he started out, but that didn’t stop Phife from giving himself more monikers. He used the self-depricating names The Funky Diabetic and Five Foot Assassin, referencing his diabetes (whether Type-1 or Type-2 disputed), and, you guessed it, his 5’5″ height.
He battled diabetes for 26 years
Phife was diagnosed with the unknown type of diabetes in 1990, and started a lifelong struggle with the debilitating disease, which affects who much of the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar, is released from the body. Phife experienced critical complications from the disorder, including kidney failure. He received a kidney transplant from his wife in 2008, but it didn’t last, requiring another transplant in 2012. It’s unknown if his diabetes was the cause of his tragic death, but Phife was reportedly in poor health at the time of his passing.
He had a successful solo career, too
Phife released his solo album Ventilation: Da LP in 2000. It was reported in 2013 that he was working on a followup, MUTTYmorPHosis; a single called “Nutshell” was released in 2015.
He was a huge sports fan
Phife was such a dedicated sports fan that he frequently appeared on ESPN broadcasts, and even became a playable character on the video games NBA 2K7 and NBA 2K9.
HollywoodLifers, our thoughts are with Phife Dawg’s loved ones during this sad time.