"You on point, Phife? All the time Tip! Well then grab the microphone and let your words rip!"
- from "Check The Rhime" classic hip-hop vocal interplay between A Tribe Called Quest's
Q-Tip and the late great Phife Dawg who just died at age 45.
Hip-hop fans awoke to some truly tragic news this morning with the announcement of the death of rapper Phife Dawg of renowned hip-hop crew A Tribe Called Quest (ATCQ). According to an early morning post today to DJ Chuck Chillout‘s Twitter feed, consequently confirmed by several other noteworthy sources, the beloved golden era hip-hop artist passed away yesterday at the young age of 45. Although no exact cause of death has been announced so far, the hip-hopper born Malik Taylor reportedly had been battling Type-I diabetes for more than half of his lifetime. In an interview in the excellent 2011 Michael Rapaport directed documentary, Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest, Phife Dawg (aka Phife Diggy, aka The Five-Foot Assassin) addresses his diabetes and dependence on sugar calling it "a sickness" and likening it to "straight-up drugs. I'm just addicted to sugar." Part of Phife's ongoing battle with the disease included receiving a kidney transplant from his wife eight years ago.