A New York street named after A Tribe Called Quest‘s Phife Dawg was unveiled yesterday (Nov 19).
Phife Dawg – real name Malik Izaak Taylor – passed away in March following complications from diabetes, a condition that the rapper was first diagnosed with in 1990. His death was met by wide-scale mourning from the hip-hop community and beyond, with artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West offering poignant tributes.
It was announced in August that a New York street was to be renamed in his honour. The corner of Linden Boulevard and 192nd Street, in the St. Albans neighbourhood of Queens, has officially been renamed the ‘Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor Way’.
According to Pitchfork, the unveiling was attended by the late rapper’s bandmates, Q-Tip and Jarobi White, as well as Phife’s family. In a speech prior to the unveiling, Jarobi said:
“I see some of my dudes who I’ve actually logged mad hours with on this corner, in front of this store. It’s a dope thing. Like people get murals and tributes to them all over the place, but to have a mural on the very block, the very street that we walked every day? Wrote rhymes up and down this block, battle people, have people come from other neighborhoods to battle me and Phife—you know, all kinds of stuff.”
Linden Boulevard holds particular significance in the A Tribe Called Quest legend, with the street being referenced numerous times by the group – Phife most notably namechecked it on ‘Check The Rhime’, the first single from ATCQ’s seminal second album ‘The Low End Theory’, rapping: “Back in days on the boulevard of Linden / We used to kick routines and the presence was fittin”, mirroring Q-Tip’s opening line.