Today, on the third anniversary of Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor’s passing, the world remembers his legacy. The Queens native was a founding member of A Tribe Called Quest, alongside Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad, and Jarobi White. Diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes early in his life, Phife Dawg battled with the condition for decades before he passed away on March 22, 2016.
Despite his untimely departure, Phife Dawg’s imprint on the world of hiphop continues to be felt, given his influence on artists such as Nas, Lauryn Hill, and Kanye West. Alongside his partners in A Tribe Called Quest, Phife Dawg was an ardent challenger of the “macho posture” that defined both rap and hiphop throughout the late twentieth century. Most notably through their lyrics, the group deviated from the common themes and stories told within hiphop in order to counter stereotypical narratives of black culture and manhood. In doing so, Phife and his counterparts paved the way for future hiphop artists and fans to dispute the labels that society places on them. In commemoration of his legacy, the intersection of 192nd Street and Linden Boulevard in Queens, New York City was renamed the Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor Way—thereby permanently marking where Phife Dawg began his journey as a hiphop artist in the 1980s.
As we reflect on Phife Dawg's contributions to hiphop, HARI’s “Remembering Phife Dawg” playlist features songs from Phife’s individual albums and work with A Tribe Called Quest. The playlist additionally includes songs that are influenced by the sounds of both Phife and the rest of the group.
The Celebration of Malik "Phife Dawg" Taylor documentary can be found here.