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A Tribe Called Quest rapper Phife Dawg dead at 45

By Estacao.org / Published on Thursday, 24 Mar 2016 12:21 PM / No Comments / 41 views

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Tell your mother, tell your father, send a telegram: The ever-clever A Tribe Called Quest rapper Phife Dawg died Tuesday at 45.

The beloved rhymer — real name Malik Taylor — died from complications resulting from diabetes, according to Rolling Stone. The self-dubbed “5-Foot Assassin” had for years been open about his health struggles.

“It’s really a sickness,” he said in the 2011 documentary “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest,” which put a spotlight on his diabetes battle.

WATCH: ATLANTA TRAFFIC REPORTER’S TRIBUTE TO PHIFE DAWG

FILE FILERodrigo Vaz

Phife Dawg (seen in 2013) has died, aged 45.

“Like straight-up drugs. I’m just addicted to sugar.”

But on the mic, he took the sickness in stride, rapping in the Tribe track “Oh My God’: “When’s the last time you heard a funky diabetic?”

Taylor underwent a kidney transplant in 2008 thanks to a donation from his wife.

Members of Tribe released a joint statement late Wednesday, writing “we love and miss you.”

“Our hearts are heavy. We are devastated,” the band said. “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.”

Fellow rap giants mourned Taylor’s passing on social media.

“Every hip hop head was just…stunned,” Questlove wrote in a lengthy Instagram post, recalling when he listened to the group’s seminal album “The Low End Theory.”

“HE. CAME. FOR. BLOOD & was taking NO prisoners on this album (or ever again).”

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons called him “”one of the greatest to bless the mic.”

The rapper grew up in Queens with bandmate Kamaal Fareed — a.k.a. Q-Tip — and the two formed A Tribe Called Quest with Ali Shaheed Muhammad when they were teenagers.

Tribe dropped its debut album, “People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm,” in 1990, immediately earning a devoted following. They followed it next year with “The Low End Theory,” a smooth-as-butter mix of jazz and hip-hop that stands for many fans as the band’s brightest moment.

A Tribe Called Quest dropped three more albums through the ’90s, with Taylor appearing on every one, his high-pitched flow bouncing off of Q-Tip’s savory rhyming.

Q-Tip (left) and Phife Dawg (center) were two of the three members of A Tribe Called Quest in 1996. The group broke up two years later.Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Q-Tip (left) and Phife Dawg (center) were two of the three members of A Tribe Called Quest in 1996. The group broke up two years later.

Taylor’s health problems kept him from building a solo career once Tribe parted aways in 1998. He still played with the band every few years for short-lived reunions, but Tribe next cut more tracks together.

Taylor alluded to simmering tensions with his former bandmates, but kept a tight lip about the dirty details. Still, even near the end of his life he was itching to see Tribe ride again.

“It’s dumb,” he told Rolling Stone in November about the band’s end, “And I don’t agree with it and we’re doing the fans a great injustice by not getting together and rocking.”

He also alluded to upcoming solo work, saying he had an LP in the works, “Muttymorphosis,” that would tell his “life story.”

jsilverstein@nydailynews.com

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