Phife Dawg

Phife Dawg, of the legendary hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest, died Wednesday of unknown causes. He was 45.

The rapper, whose government name was Malik Taylor, described his lifelong struggle with diabetes mellitus, aka sugar diabetes, in a documentary on the group.

It's really a sickness," Taylor told Michael Rapaport in a 2011 documentary, Beats, Rhymes & Life.

He added: "Like straight-up drugs. I'm just addicted to sugar."

Taylor is one of the co-founders of A Tribe Called Quest, along with the group's lead lyricist Q-Tip.

Taylor stood out on the group's albums, particularly 1991's The Low End Theory and 1993's Midnight Marauders.

But his health problems cut his solo career short after the group disbanded in 1999.

He recorded his only solo album, Ventilation: Da LP, in 2000.

Taylor was upbeat about his future in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine last November:

"I am in a good spot, but I have my good days and I have my bad days," he said at the time. "But I'm more or less in a good spot, so I can't really complain." In the same interview, Taylor revealed plans to release the J Dilla-produced "Nutshell," the first single off a planned EP titled Give Thanks. The rapper released a video preview of the song, though a full version has yet to be released. Prior to his death, Taylor had also been at work on Muttymorphosis, his new LP that would have functioned as "basically my life story" that he hoped to have released later this year.

Thanks to loyal reader Str8tUpMenace for the tip.

  • Mrs. ??????????

    RIP Phife.

  • rampage jackson

    "Bo knows this and Bo knows that, but Bo don't know jack cause Bo can't rap." R.i.p Phife.

  • Str8tUpMenace

    RIP The Five Footer!!!!!! Truly a hip hop pioneer!!!!!

  • Mel

    Rip my condolences to his fam

  • Str8tUpMenace

    Wait...................did I just get a shout out from Sandra Rose?!?!?!? Say what???????? *does the Tootsie Roll*

  • Vikki

    Rest Easy Phife ??

  • Cricket404

    Poor thing, he might have had childhood diabetes because he was in his early 20's rapping about diabetes and he wasn't overweight. His brain probably had a thirst for sugar but his body had no way to break it down. He received a kidney from his wife, but the meds probably wore that kidney out too. I wonder if his parents are alive? Most times, if your family has a history of a disease you have to trend lightly because it's written in your DNA. RIP Phife.

  • HoneyyGoodMoneyy_

    RIP OG....

  • A.P. Millz-CT

    I like 'em yellow brown Puerto Rican or Haitian my name is Phife Dawg from the Zulu nation... RIP BROTHER

  • MissHarlem

    Rest in Power ?damn yo

  • kco0l;s ChocolateBox

    It is so many passing away this year...:-(

  • Milani

    Sad...SAD :( R.I.P.

  • Monday


    Damn... Waaaaayyyy too many and we are only in march!!

  • Str8tUpMenace

    "See, I'm far from a bully and I ain't a punk" - Phife

    one of my fav Phife lines.

  • Reddy

    You on point Phife? All the time, Tip.

  • Reddy

    RIP! This hurts man...

  • Django the God

    And she put your whole username. You could've just been Menace, since that's not as big a word.

  • Futuredocdonte

    You on point tip
    All the time Phife ? #rip

  • Chaseboogie The Prince

    Your voice will be missed dude. RIP!

  • MookieFly

    Diabetes ain't no joke! May this man rest in peace

  • SpideySense

    Trini Gladiator, anti-hesitator. Much love Phife. Now only Nikki left to represent us (unfortunately). ?

  • SameoleJ


  • SameoleJ

    Don't condemn us to her!!

  • SpideySense

    All the time Tip. ? love it! So sad.

  • SpideySense

    I know. My cousins in Trinidad say the same thing. We want to like her but just never quite make it.

    I should amend my statement. We still got Nia Long. . .

  • SameoleJ

    Which means she finally let us off that short bus she had us on this AM.......wonder if we can take our helmets off yet.

  • SameoleJ

    I will literally listen to a song she is featured on and as soon as her part starts.....SHUT IT RIGHT OFF!!

  • Let Your Soul Glow

    One of my favorite lines! Respect, Phife.

  • Django the God

    Speaking of big words, did you see Nardwuar interview DJ Khaled yesterday. That was the funniest chit.

    If you've never seen Nardwuar interview somebody, that's one to watch.

  • SpideySense

    Yup. I don't knock her hustle though. Do you boo boo, I'm just not listening.

  • E Love

    I absolutely do the same thing!!

  • Tammie Reed

    Oh my, I loved Tribe Called Quest, used to listen to their music in college and at the rollerskating rink! Reminds me of the MTV days when they showed music videos all day! May he RIP! xoxo

  • BlahBlahBlah

    Naw fam.

  • jeniefrumdablocâ„¢


  • Nhere

    Man, been so emotional on this day. RIP Phife, ATCQ is my favorite rap group of all time. I wore Midnight Marauders the fk out! Been rotating the first two albums lately.

    People don't give credit but Phife had some of the wittiest rap lines in rap period! I'm quite sure Slum Village got their name from him.

  • MotherOfDragons, GetOffMyENuts

    R.I.P. Phife. Truly one of the best to ever do it. I love ATCQ, always have. Electric Relaxation is one of my favorite songs period, still gets played constantly on my iPod. My prayers are with his loved ones.

  • yes yes, ya’ll!

    not trying to start any mess but shouldn't kdubb get co-credit for the tip? anywho, RIP Phife. ?

  • SameoleJ

    Nope, but I will have to take a look at that.

  • Reg Ingram

    R.I.P Bro Malik Taylor. One of my all time favorite rappers from one of my favorite groups A Tribe Called Quest. On a positive note he get's to rap for the Lord now.

  • iWasteTime

    S.I.P. sir!

  • Readytochokemothernatureonout

    Rest in peace. 90's memories of when music was all of that.

  • ArDnAhC45


  • Lovezoe



    *Drops the punch bowl like Florida Evans* DAMN, DAMN, DAMN!!! Tribe was the soundtrack to my youth...

  • KB

    RIP Phife

  • KB

    She acknowledges tipsters. ??

  • SummerBaby

    RIP ??

  • Sincerity7

    One of my favorite groups of all time. RIP!!!



  • Indigo

    Moms got me "People's Instinctive Travels in the Paths of Rhythm" for me for Christmas when I was 12. Always been studying and reciting their lyrics and got every single Tribe tape or CD. Big influence for me. You will be missed Phife Dawg RIP!

  • Luvn_it

    R.I.P we are slowly loosing the real hip-hop legends.??

  • Liah

    RIP Phife.....

  • Lisa Daniels

    I was wondering why the radio station was playing the tribes music back to back this morning.

  • Mama Dee’s Wig Maker

    RIP Five Foot Assassin

  • Fendi

    He had a kidney transplant in 2008 and subsequently lost his life to kidney failure, if the complete reports I've seen are correct.

    RIP Phife. He was one of the best to ever do it.

  • Fendi


  • Angela

    "Told you in the jam that We Can Get Down
    Now let's Knock the Boots like the group H-Town
    You got BBD all on your bedroom wall
    But I'm Above the Rim and this is how I ball...."...???? Loved Phife..I'm a diabetic so I know the struggle all too well..

  • Angela

    "Extremity in rhythm, yeah that's what you heard.
    So just clean out your ears and just check the word"????

  • side_i

    Can we get a medical minute Sandy

  • Doink_Ahanahue

    "Well, whaddya know tha Di-dog is 1st up to bat, no batteries included, no strings attached. No holds barred, no time for mood-fakin..." A nice lyricist indeed. They DO NOT exist in this new brood of rap (It's not hip-hop)

  • Orchidjones

    Rest in Heaven Funky Diabetic!