The late rapper – real name Malik Taylor – died on Tuesday, March 22 at the age of 45 from complications resulting from diabetes.
Contributing to a special tribute episode of Q-Tip’s Beats 1 show Abstract Radio, Lamar said: “Me being one of the new cats, all I could ever remember is me either listening to gangsta rap or ‘Low End Theory’, so it’s only right that I pay homage to Phife and the whole Tribe for birthin’ what I do on that microphone and what I do on that stage.”
Phife Dawg was one of the hip-hop 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.
“Tribe Called Quest is everything, everything to me,” Andre 3000 said during the tribute episode. “There would not be no Outkast without [them] – or if there was an Outkast, it wouldn’t be Outkast, it would be something completely different.”
Big Boi added: “They were our idols back in the day. We had a chance to link up and get close over the past year or so – just kind of talking and getting to know one another. Phife actually came by the studio a little while ago, just vibed out, and he was an all-around cool guy and great person. He’ll forever be missed by the world and definitely myself.”
A Tribe Called Quest’s three remaining members Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White paid tribute to Phife Dawg in a statement last week, hailing his “seismic contribution” to music and “daily joy and courage”.