PHIFE DAWG, FOUNDING MEMBER OF A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, DEAD AT 45


Last night the world lost Phife Dawg, half of one of the greatest tag teams in rap history. A Tribe Called Quest released three classic albums between 1990 and 1993, during which time Phife established himself as one of the most beloved voices in hip-hop.

"Now here's a funky introduction of how nice I am, Tell your mother, tell your father, send a telegram."

Malik Taylor, the rapper known as Phife Dawg whose nimble, clever rhymes helped launch A Tribe Called Quest to both commercial and critical success, died Tuesday at the age of 45 from complications resulting from diabetes.

"When's the last time you heard a funky diabetic?"

Taylor had had health issues for years, undergoing a kidney transplant in 2008 to deal with a longtime battle with diabetes.

Taylor appeared on all five of the group's studio albums, most notably 1991's The Low End Theory and 1993's Midnight Marauders, acting as the high-pitched, gruff vocal counterpoint to Q-Tip's smooth, mellow flow. The group broke up and reunited multiple times since the release of their last album, 1998's the Love Movement.

Health problems deterred Taylor from recording much solo material, though the rapper released his only solo album Ventilation: Da LP in 2000.

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