R.I.P. Phife Dawg
Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest died today at age 45. Dawg’s famous vocal interplay with Q-Tip came into its own on their second album, The Low End Theory. He appeared on every Tribe Called Quest album and released a solo project, Ventilation: Da LP in 2000. Q-Tip and best friend Phife Dawg created A Tribe Called Quest in 1985 while they were in high school. In 1990, the group which also included Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi released their debut album, People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm. They introduced a culturally aware and jazz-influenced style of rap that attracted universal appeal from college rap fans to street listeners. Their Native Tongue collective of open-minded, creative sampling peers included The Jungle Brothers and De La Soul. Dawg, who was born Malik Taylor, discovered he was diabetic in 1990 and his battle with the illness and the band’s journey was the subject of Michael Rapaport’s 2011-directed Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest. He had planned on releasing his second album, Muttymorphosis later this year and last year he posted a video teaser of the J.Dilla-produced “Nutshell” for an EP called Give Thanks. The 25th Anniversary Edition of People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm was released last year and the group celebrated the release with their first television appearance in 15 years with a performance of “Can I Kick It” on The Tonight Show.