Phife Dawg Dead – Tribe Called Quest Singer Dies At 45

Truth rating: 10
Phife Dawg Dead

By Michael Lewittes

Phife Dawg Dead

(Getty Images)

Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest is dead. The rapper, who was born Malik Taylor, was 45.

While an official cause of death has yet to be released, Dawg underwent a kidney transplant in 2008 related to his longtime struggle with diabetes. Dawg was a pivotal member of the three-man group, which also comprised his high school classmate Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Between 1990 and 1998, A Tribe Called West helped revolutionize hip hop with such hits as “Can I Kick It?,” “Check the Rhime,” “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo,” “Electric Relaxation,” “Scenario,” “Jazz (We’ve Got),” and “Bonita Applebum.”

A Tribe Called Quest split in 1998, but reunited occasionally as well as a U.S. tour in 2006. While Q-Tip, for instance, continued to churn out solo music, because of Dawg’s diabetes, he was unable to work as much, though in 2000 he released the album Ventilation: Da LP. He told Michael Rapaport in his 2011 documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life about the group, “Like straight-up drugs, I’m just addicted to sugar.”

Before his death, Dawg had been working on a new album called Muttymorphosis. He told Rolling Stone in November that it was “basically my life story.” Sadly, he passed away before it could be released.

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