Hearts in the Hip-Hop community are very heavy today. Phife Dawg of the legendary group A Tribe Called Quest has passed away. He lost his life to complications with diabetes. He was only 45 years old. His battle with the disease had been going for quite some time. In 2008, he had to undergo a kidney transplant. Additionally, his health issues prevented him from attacking his solo career in the manner that he wanted to. He admitted in various interviews that for a while he was in denial about having the illness and didn’t adjust his lifestyle as he should have. However, he still remained positive and had line up a couple of different projects before his untimely death.
A Tribe Called Quest made their debut in 1985 and would go on to release a total of five studio albums. The two most notable being The Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders. Phife stood out in the group as the rough around the edges counterpart to his more mellow & laid back group member Q-Tip. This can be attributed to the fact that the pair grew up together as childhood best-friends and already had an established chemistry. The group officially disbanded in 1998 due to various issues but have reunited throughout the years for live performances. Their final time on stage would be their appearance back in 2015 on The Tonight Show. It was their first televised performance in 15 years. They performed their classic single “Can I Kick It?” in honor of the reissue of their debut album, People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm. A good glimpse into the nature of the group would be the Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest documentary by Michael Rapaport. The group’s influence is widely evident in the: countless samplings of their hit records, references & mentions in various song lyrics by artists who came after them, and the outpouring of love & emotion that took over the net when the news of Phife’s passing broke. He will be truly missed and everyone is forever grateful for his contributions to the Hip-Hop culture.
**My Two Cents: I was just a young buck when A Tribe Called Quest was doing their thing. But I remember growing up watching their videos and vibing to their music. I was actually able to appreciate their lyrics & artistry once I got older and went back and checked out certain tracks. I saw a few stats on social media about Phife passing before I went to bed last night and was saddened when I woke up to find out that his death had been confirmed. May he truly rest in paradise and may we all be more aware and active as it pertains to our own individual health & wellness. We only get one body/life. Gotta make the most of it. -MinM