This week, the world woke to the devastating news of Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor’s passing, after prolonged complications with diabetes. It feels as though we have lost a family member. A Tribe Called Quest to many, represent a coming of age, an awareness and exploration of self, independence, and pure fun. The Five Foot Assassin, Five Foot Freak, or the Funky Diabetic, as Phife affectionally called himself, was the edge to Q-Tip‘s smooth delivery where Phife’s rhymes came hard and direct with a play on words and puns that would make you laugh or yell, “Ohhhhh!” was indeed something incredibly special. The 2011 documentary on the super rap group, Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest (directed by Michael Rapaport) revealed the extent of his battle with diabetes, as well as how deep his riff with Q-Tip had grown. We can only imagine how each member of the group are feeling now, let alone his family, who said in a statement, “Malik was our loving husband, father, brother and friend. We love him dearly. How he impacted all our lives will never be forgotten. His love for music and sports was only surpassed by his love of God and family.”
All the time “on point,” the Five Foot Freak will forever hold a place in our hearts and his legacy will embrace generations to come. RIP Phife Dawg.