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Hip-Hop Reacts to Phife Dawg’s Death


Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Tribeca Film FestivalHip-hop is mourning the sudden loss of rapper Phife Dawg, born Malik Taylor.  A member of pioneering alternative rap collective A Tribe Called Quest, he passed away Tuesday at age 45 due to complications from diabetes, according to a statement from his family. 

“Malik was our loving husband, father, brother and friend,” adds the statement. “We love him dearly. How he impacted all our lives will never be forgotten. His love for music and sports was only surpassed by his love of God and family.”

Following the news of Phife’s passing, everyone from Public Enemy‘s Chuck D to R&B singer Jill Scott have taken to social media to pay their respects, while Kendrick Lamar honored Phife during concert in Sydney.  Here’s a sample of reactions:

Chuck D: “Phife-HipHop & Rap word Warrior, simple as that. Breathed it & lined rhyme into Sport. A true fire Social Narrator my bro #RIBeats ATCQforever.”

Talib Kweli: “Today is a dark day in hiphop. I wanted to hang out with these guys so bad as a teenager. Now I count them among my friends. #RIPPHIFE we love you.”

Jill Scott: “So incredibly sad to hear the Great Phife Dawg of Tribe Called Quest has passed away at only 45 yrs. GREAT MC. Sincere Love and Respect. Phife lives through an all inspiring body of work; Pure and smart, MUSICAL and fun!! Why I fell for Hip Hop. He is loved. Tribe is loved.”

Questlove recalled his favorite song, “Buggin Out”: “Malik ‘Phife’ Taylor’s verse was such a gauntlet/flag planting moment in hip hop. Every hip hop head was just…stunned HE. CAME. FOR. BLOOD & was taking NO prisoners on this album (or ever again) we just kept looking at the speaker on some disbelief old timey radio Suspense episode. & also at each other ‘Phife is KILLIN!’–by the time we got to ‘Scenario’ I swear to god THAT was the moment I knew I wanted to make THIS type of music when I grew up.”

Ludacris: “Heaven just got a Hip Hop Legend. #ripphifedawg.”

Snoop Dogg: “R. I. P. my. Dawg. Linden to linden warren g used to bang that before we had a deal.”

Marlon Wayans: “Phife didawg… #RIP fam love you brother. You left the world with jewels man. My childhood plays out like a long ass tribe called quest album. Y’all are my friends my peers my comrades my brothers … I don’t know what to say except… Damn. Rest well. #lowendtheory #nowheresafunkyintroductionofhowniceiam…”

Solange: “Phife was not only one of the most influential people in hip hop, but he was also one of the nicest & most kindest guys in hip hop. Man. RIP.”

Chris Rock: “I like brown, yellow Puerto Rican or Haitian name is phife dog from the Zulu nation. Rip Phife.”

T.I.: “RIP Phife Dog…. We appreciate U G!!!!”

Rah Digga: “My heart is heavy today. I met Phife in ’97 as Q-tips new artist. It was a life long dream of mine to work with Tribe. Unfortunately the crew was disbanding as I was just coming on board. Wish things could have worked out differently but I don’t question God’s design I just walk the path. Rest easy dear friend xoxo.”

Bun B: “Damn. At a loss for words. I remember meeting Phife in Houston in like 93. He was back and forth visiting a girl here. He popped up in High Rollers one night and nobody recognized him except me. We talked all night. He was a great spirit, an amazing artist, and a good person. Loves his sports. This pic is us discussing sports with @therapplife and @corymomusic in Austin @nicekicks #RIPPhifeDawg.”

Elle Varner: “Phife, your rhymes, your tone, your delivery- one of a kind there will never be another. Rest easy and thank you for the legacy.”

Mark Ronson: “Phife Dawg made some of the most beloved hip hop ever. It’s so sad that he’s gone. I’d have gone to every reunion show till the end of time. ‘microphone check 1-2, what is this?’ ‘back in ’89 i simply slid in the place’ ‘i like em brown yellow puerto rican or haitian’ PHIFE 4EVER. …PHIFE has some of the most classic opening verse lines in all of hip hop.”

Estelle: “Trini gladiator /anti hesitator /Shaheed push the fader / from here to Grenada” ???????? #RIPPhife …”

Combat Jack: “My personal testimony as to how timeless ATCQ is is that independently, my 19, 18 and 14 yr old sons listen to Tribe on their own. #RIPPhife.”

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