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Phife Dawg of legendary rap group A Tribe Called Quest dies at 45

Phife Dawg
Photo credit: YouTube / A Tribe Called Quest VEVO

Sad news from the Hip-Hop world.

Phife Dawg, founding member of the legendary rap group A Tribe Called Quest, has reportedly died at the age of 45.

Although an official cause of death has yet to be reported, Phife was very open about his struggles with diabetes after being diagnosed with the disease in 1990. It is being speculated that he may have succumbed to renal disease, which is often a complication of diabetes. In 2008, he received a kidney transplant from his wife after falling ill.

The rapper was born Malik Issac Taylor in Queens, New York, on Nov. 20, 1970. He would go on to become childhood friends with Kamaal Ibn John Fareed, aka Q-Tip, and along with Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White, the foursome would later form the groundbreaking hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest. Their debut album, People’s Instinctive Paths and the Paths of Rhythm, was released in 1990. The group’s next two albums, 1991’s The Low End Theory and 1993’s Midnight Marauders would go down in hip-hop history as two of the best pieces of work the genre has ever produced. Follow-up albums, Beats, Rhymes and Life (1996) and The Love Movement (1998) were also critically acclaimed but the group broke up shortly after TLM was released. In 2000, Phife would release his debut solo project, Ventilation: Da LP

2011 saw the release of the popular Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest documentary that gave fans a behind-the-scenes look at some of the turmoil going on within the group that caused them break up. The documentary also shined a light on Phife’s medical problems, which many fans were unaware of at the time.

As news of Phife’s death spread, many fans, friends, and musical contemporaries took time to pay their respects to the fallen legend via social media.

Check out some of their posts below.

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