Today is a rather somber day in hip-hop, but one that comes with celebrating the life of Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor. March 22nd, 2017 marks a year since the Queens lyricist passed away, but media outlets far and wide will look to today to promote his outstanding legacy. Along with fellow MCs Jarobi White, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Kamaal “Q-Tip” Fareed, Phife Dawg and A Tribe Called Quest signed to Jive Records in 1990. This came with the release of their debut project, ‘People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm’. Their run through the 1990s was nothing short of amazing, releasing two of what many consider to be the greatest projects in hip-hop in ‘The Low End Theory’ and ‘Midnight Marauders’. Phife Dawg’s rugged, “roughneck business” on track after track combined effortlessly with Q-Tip’s soft and sophisticated flow. Aside from rap, Phife Dawg was a unique personality who often dabbled in the realm of sports. Always repping some of his team’s favorite gear, he spent much of his later life coaching the game of basketball. A quick look at the “Influences” section of any modern rapper’s Wikipedia page will show you just how influential and transcendent A Tribe Called Quest was. A notable and emotional appearance by Kanye West at Taylor’s memorial service exemplifies this perfectly. West went on to say that:
“Tribe made Kanye West. Made me the kid with the pink Polo. Made it so I could dress funny”
Certainly Phife Dawg and Tribe’s persona was one that many aspiring MCs of the time envied, and memorable outfits were just one small portion of it. While the memories and enduring legacy of Phife Dawg and A Tribe Called Quest can be elaborated upon for hours, it is important to mark this day as one that will live in hip-hop notoriety.