5 Reasons

Phife Dawg will always be

On Point

Illustration by Sean Patrick Cumiskey

Illustration by Sean Patrick Cumiskey

Wednesday morning, the hip hop world gasped for air as news broke of the death of Malik Taylor, known and loved by our community as A Tribe Called Quest’s founding member Phife Dawg. In his short 45 years, the funky diabetic helped to change  the realm of hip hop both sonically and culturally. While his physical being is no longer on this plane, he leaves us a legacy of lyricism, activism, and we here at IllVibeTheTribe bring you our favourite contributions from one of the world’s greatest Emcees.

1.) Remember that time Phife paid homage to his boy and one of Hip Hop's greatest producers J. Dilla in "Dear Dilla"? 


"Dilla Dude still crackin’, they wish to be like you

Producer extraordinaires, knowing their beats recycled

But on your worst day they could’nt mess with you

Cats Making Tees in remembrance of you

Least they could do is give your fam a dime or two"

Phife, the funky diabetic, risked a diabetic relapse and really ate a Dilla Donut for this video. Dedication man.

Phife, the funky diabetic, risked a diabetic relapse and really ate a Dilla Donut for this video. Dedication man.

2.) Phife did not discriminate


"I like em brown, yellow, Puerto Rican or Hatian

Name is Phife Dawg from the Zulu Nation

Told You in the Jam the we can get down

Now Let’s Knock the Boots like the Group H-Town"

3.) Phife always came on the track with a smooth intro


“Now here’s a funky introduction of how nice I am

Tell your mother, tell your father, send a telegram”


“1988 Senior Year, Garvey High

Where all the guys were corny but the girls were made fly”

4.) Phife could crack jokes on himself and still sound cooler than you


“The height of Mugsy Bogues, complexion of a hockey puck”


“When’s the last time you heard a funky diabetic?”

“Yo, microphone check one, two what is this? The five foot assassin with the roughneck business”

5.) Phife was always about being authentic & calling out the fake



“Your whole appearance is a lie

And it could never be true.

And if you really loved yourself

Then you would try and be you.”



“Question: why is it that MC’s be wack

And major labels wanna sign that crap?

A-yo funk that!”



“Cause if I don't say I'm the best

Tell me who the hell will?”

Today the influence of a Tribe Called Quest continues to reign heavy in the hearts of true hip hop lovers. Many still revisiting their tracks and adding their own spin to the funky ill vibes of the tribe. Here's one of our favorite mixes of the classic album "Midnight Marauders".Rest In Power Phife Dawg.