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Phife Dawg, RIP

Phife Dawg

Founding A Tribe Called Quest member Phife Dawg (real name Mailk Taylor) has sadly passed away at 45 years old, Rolling Stone reports. The cause of death has not yet been revealed, but as the RS article points out, Phife has been battling diabetes for years and underwent a kidney transplant in 2008.

UPDATE: Phife’s family gave an official statement, confirming his death was related to diabetes.

Phife appeared in public as recently as November, 2015 at Santos Party House where he, Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi celebrated the reissue of their classic 1990 debut, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. They didn’t perform at that show (but they did play Fallon the night before). ATCQ’s last actual show was opening for Kanye West in 2013.

Two more indisputably classic albums followed Tribe’s debut, 1991’s The Low End Theory and 1993’s Midnight Marauders, and they knocked out two more full lengths, 1996’s Beats, Rhymes and Life and 1998’s The Love Movement, before initially calling it quits in ’98. Phife also released one solo album, Ventilation: Da LP, in 2000. Those early Tribe records still live up today and their influence on hip hop is undeniable. Rest in peace, Phife. You’ll be missed.

Watch a video from ATCQ’s final shows opening for Kanye, and revisit some of their classic studio recordings, below.

Update 2: Kendrick Lamar paid tribute to Phife on stage in Australia, and Questlove, Chuck D, Chance the Rapper, Talib Kweli, El-P, The Pharcyde & more also paid tribute on social media.

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