Born Malik Isaac Taylor, the rapper we came to know as Phife Dawg has passed away at the age of 45. The cause of death hasn't been confirmed, but Taylor had battled several health issues over the years, including diabetes, and received a kidney transplant from his wife in 2008

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty
The five foot assassin was a notable MC for the comedic wit he brought to the Queens hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest. Their blending of jazz, hip hop, and storytelling ushered in a new sound for music, and it was definitely a breath of fresh air for hip hop. With lyrics that challenged the bravado of rap at the time and took on various social issues, their sound was not one to be slept on. While the group didn't make it past 1998, only reuniting for a few live shows, Phife was said to be working on a solo project about his life's story entitled Muttymorphosis

Twitter rolled out the tributes:

It's been something to watch hip hop growing up, in our culture and around the world, but nothing really prepares us for hip hop becoming an ancestor. We salute you Phife Dawg, rest in power

Photo: giphy
Photo: giphy

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