When you hear of the passing of someone that truly inspired a generation, that helped birth a movement that still resonates with many today, it brings up many emotions, thoughts, and reflections. Malik I. Taylor, better known as, Phife Dawg, or The Five Foot Assassin, or The Funky Diabetic, or The Five Footer, was that person.
Observing the thousands of tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts, you get a sense of how Phife touched so many lives as a member of ATCQ. It makes me smile, and very proud of the hip hop that I grew up listening to.
It was back in 1985 when Phife along with childhood named Q-Tip formed A Tribe Called Quest alongside Jarobi and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Fusing hints of jazz with their socially conscious lyrics introduced fans to another level of hip hop which catapulted the group and gained them a loyal and steadfast following. They released their debut album People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm in 1990, and though it was praised for its lyrical creativity, peculiar sense of humor mixed with socially conscious tracks, it wasn't until 1996 that it was ceritified gold by the RIAA. It was their sophomore album, 1991’s The Low End Theory, and follow-up, 1993’s Midnight Marauders, that ranked among hip-hop’s all-time greatest releases, and inspired an entire generation of hip-hop.
Not only was Phife a hip hop legend, he was an avid sports fan and if you followed him on Instagram you would, without a doubt, know his favorite teams. I personally loved that he was an avid fan of my favorite college football team, The OSU Buckeyes. I often checked his account to see him opine on the games and found myself commenting with an "O H" on some of his posts regarding the Bucks.
Phife had long suffered from health issues associated with his having Type 1 diabetes. In 2008, he underwent a kidney transplant and it's been reported that he died Tuesday of complications from diabetes. He was 45.
His last post on his Instagram has him rockin' a Buckeye hat but it's his profile message that stuck out to me and it articulates perfectly who he was.
A fighter of the good fight.
Rest well, Phife.