Hip Hop World Shares Their Personal Memories Of Phife Dawg

Memorials came flooding in after news broke the A Tribe Called Quest rapper is dead at age 45

Mar 23, 2016 at 3:42 PM ET

Malik Taylor, a.k.a. Phife Dawg, of the legendary hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest has died due to complications from diabetes. He was 45. Tribe is responsible for some of the most classic hip hop albums of all time, and Phife, for his part, is behind some of the most memorable rhymes ever recorded. The hip hop community has immediately taken to social media to remember the five-foot assassin.

At the time of publish, the tributes were still rolling in, but Vocativ analyzed Twitter activity to find that since about 10 a.m. EDT, there were roughly 70,000 tweets with the #RIPPhifeDawg hashtag. Here are some of the very best of those remembrances.

Houston rapper Bun B shared a little anecdote on Instagram:

Chance the Rapper had a nice memory, too:  

Questlove had a great story about how The Low End theory affected him the first time he heard it:

Phife forever 1970-2016. 1991 in Sept I went to visit Tariq at Millersville U in the middle of PA (Lancaster). Miles Davis had just passed & I went on a binge to study his post jazz works. Went to Sound Of Market to purchase Nefertiti, In A Silent Way & Live Evil—the only non jazz purchase I made that day ironically was the most jazziest album in that collection: #TheLowEndTheory by @ATCQ. —it was raining that day so somehow the 1…2 punch of “Nefertiti”/”Fall” just had me in a trance that train trip—even though I suspected there was a possibility that Tribe could possibly have made a better album then their debut (the perfect @@@@@ mic Source rating would be on stands in a week so I was right)—but I knew I wanted to save that listening for when I got up to the campus w Riq.—so some 90mins later when I get to his dorm–we ripped that bad boy open (I can’t describe the frustration that was CD packaging in 1991, just imagine the anger that environmentalists feel when all that paper packaging in Beats headphone gets wasted—it’s like that)—the sign of a true classic is when a life memory is burnt in your head because of the first time you hear a song. —Riq & I had this moment a few times, but the look on our faces when we 1st heard “Buggin Out” was prolly Me & Tariq’s greatest “rewind selector!” moment in our friendship. (Back then every MC’s goal was to have that “rewind!!!” moment. As in to say something so incredible. Or to catch you by surprise that it makes you go “DAAAAAYUM!!!”& you listen over & over—Malik “Phife” Taylor’s verse was such a gauntlet/flag planting moment in hip hop. Every hip hop head was just…stunned HE. CAME. FOR. BLOOD & was taking NO prisoners on this album (or ever again) we just kept looking at the speaker on some disbelief old timey radio Suspense episode. & also at each other “Phife is KILLIN!”–by the time we got to “Scenario” I swear to god THAT was the moment I knew I wanted to make THIS type of music when I grew up–(yeah yeah dad I know: “go to Juilliard or Curtis to make a nice living at “real music”) but he didn’t know that Phife & his crew already wrote my destiny. I ain’t look back since. THANK YOU PHIFE!

A photo posted by Questlove Gomez (@questlove) on

Jermaine Dupri shared a photo:

New York radio personality DJ Clue weighed in with a memory:

  Kendrick Lamar paid tribute to Phife at a show in Australia: Here’s a pic from producer and DJ Statik Selektah:


And here’s a pic from Public Enemy: