A Tribute To Phife Dawg – RIP

By Anton Constantinou

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The New York rapper has died today, aged 45, following a lifelong battle with diabetes, according to reports in the hip hop community.

Broadcaster and producer Dj Chuck Chillout announced the news in the early hours of this morning on Twitter, saying “Confirmed. rest in peace Phife. Man. I’m out”.  A whole host of other artists and producers, including Mac Miller and 9th Wonder have since paid their respects on social media. An official statement is yet to be issued.

Phife Dawg, born Malik Isaac Taylor, first rose to fame in the early 90’s with jazz rap trio, A Tribe Called Quest, before later going solo. In that time, the group put out 5 top albums (People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (1990) The Low End Theory (1991)
Midnight Marauders (1993), Beats, Rhymes and Life (1996) The Love Movement (1998), and Phife earned the nickname, Five Foot Assassin – on account of his height and his lyrical prowess.

Phife was the wordsmith of the group, the cheeky, silver tongued dynamo, alongside Q-Tip, the front-man, DJ/Producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad and, on occasion, Jarobi White.  Some of his most memorable lines as a rapper include, “I like ’em brown, yellow, Puerto Rican or Haitian” (Electric Relaxation), on account of his love of women, and “Mr. energetic, who me sound pathetic, when’s the last time you heard a funky diabetic?”.

As a solo artist, Phife dropped the studio album, Ventilation: Da LP, which boasts the funky Jay Dee produced track, Bend Ova. Outside of rap he was a sports coach and analyst- to such extent that he even featured as a playable character in the basketball computer games, NBA 2K7 and NBA 2K9.

Phife will be sorely missed, not only as a rapper but as fighter and inspiration to diabetes sufferers the world over. Back in 2008 he received a kidney transplant and returned with an appearance in the documentary film, Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest. Just last November, Highlight Nation had the pleasure of wishing Phife a happy birthday, and it pains to be writing about him again so soon under such sad circumstances.

Join us as we remember the Five Foot Assassin in the best way we know how – with a flashback to one of his greatest shows of lyricism. Keep an ear out for his verse on, Oh My God (UK Flavor mix)

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