Malik Taylor, known and loved worldwide to fans as Phife of A Tribe Called Quest, has died Wednesday from diabetes complications at the age of 45.
The Queens emcee’s passing was confirmed by several colleagues and spread quickly this morning throughout social media. Phife had battled Type 1 diabetes since the early 90s and received a kidney transplant in 2008.
Phife’s higher pitched vocals and straight-forward, braggadocio rhymes provided the perfect contrast to Q-Tip’s subdued, abstract lyrics on Tribe’s legendary run of albums, which include People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm (1990), The Low End Theory (1991), and Midnight Marauders (1993). Phife released his only solo project, Ventilation: Da LP, in 2000.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Phife disclosed plans to release an EP entitled Give Thanks with a lead single produced by J Dilla, and an autobiographical sophomore album called Muttymorphosis.
The official statement released by Phife’s family can be read below.
We regret to share the news that on Tuesday March 22nd, 2016, Malik has passed away due to complications resulting from diabetes.
Malik was our loving husband, father, brother and friend. 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.”
DJ Rasta Root, his manager adds, “While I mourn the loss of my best friend and brother, I also will celebrate his incredible life and contribution to many people’s ears across the world. Even with all his success, I have never met a person as humble as he. He taught me that maintaining a positive attitude and outlook can conquer anything. Now my brother is resting in greatness. I’m honored to have crossed paths with him. Riddim Kidz 4eva.” The family asks that their privacy be respected at this difficult time.