Phife Dawg: A Tribe Called Quest pay tribute to late rapper’s ‘seismic contribution’

Founding member of the hip-hop group died on Tuesday (March 22) at the age of 45

A Tribe Called Quest have paid tribute to the “seismic contribution” of Phife Dawg following his death earlier this week.

The late rapper – real name Malik Taylor – died on Tuesday (March 22) at the age of 45 from complications resulting from diabetes.

Taylor was one of the group’s founding members and appeared on all five of their studio albums. He later pursued a short-lived solo career with his only album, ‘Ventilation: Da LP’, released in 2000.

The group’s three remaining members Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White said in a statement: “Our hearts are heavy. We are devastated. This is something we weren’t prepared for although we all know that life is fleeting. It was no secret about his health and his fight. But the fight for his joy and happiness gave him everything he needed.

“The fight to keep his family happy, his soul happy and those around him happy, gave him complete and unadulterated joy… until he heeded his fathers’ call.”

The group also thanked fans, fellow artists and music industry figures for “the outpouring of prayers and support”, adding: “This too is part of his joy and means a lot to him. His family is overwhelmed by the support, well wishes and are thankful. His music and what he’s contributed is seismic and hard to measure. He’s affected us as much as he’s affected all of you.

“We’re inspired by his daily joy and courage. He wasn’t in pain. He was happy. We take comfort in knowing he will be beside his grandmother.”

Kendrick Lamar paid tribute to Phife Dawg on the day of his death at a gig in Sydney by asking the crowd to chant the late rapper’s name.