The hip-hop community is still coming to grips with the loss of iconic rapper Phife Dawg at the young age of 45, and now his bandmates from A Tribe Called Quest have joined the scores of tributes to their late brother.
Following the Five Foot Assassin’s death from diabetes-related complications on Tuesday, his seminal hip-hop group’s surviving members – Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White – have released a joint statement.
It reads (via Rolling Stone):
“Our hearts are heavy. We are devastated. This is something we weren’t prepared for although we all know that life is fleeting. It was no secret about his health and his fight. But the fight for his joy and happiness gave him everything he needed.
The fight to keep his family happy, his soul happy and those around him happy, gave him complete and unadulterated joy…until he heeded his father’s call.
We love his family, his mother, his son, his wife, his nieces, his family here in New York, Atlanta, California and Trinidad. Thank you for the outpouring of prayers and support from the fans, fellow artists, music outlets, blogs, radio stations, DJs, social media and the media community at large. This too is part of his joy and means a lot to him.
His family is overwhelmed by the support, well wishes and are thankful. His music and what he’s contributed is seismic and hard to measure. He’s affected us as much as he’s affected all of you. We’re inspired by his daily joy and courage. He wasn’t in pain. He was happy. We take comfort in knowing he will be beside his grandmother.”
Meanwhile, the Five Foot Assassin lives on in a never-before-heard freestyle that’s been released online by DJ/TV presenter Tim Westwood.
The track from 1999 features Phife rhyming alongside fellow MCs Wildchild and Madlib and showcasing the nimble flow that made him an icon.
In the freestyle, the self-described Funky Diabetic unleashes rhymes about John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and his own discography, rapping: “It’s been a long time since Bonita Applebum, Award Tour and Check the fricken Rhyme/ It don’t matter. What’s the deal? / ‘Cause the microphone, I keep it Cheryl Lynn real.”
Among all the incoming tributes to Phife Dawg’s music and legacy, Kendrick Lamar used his recent concert in Sydney to pay honour the hip-hop legend, leading the 18,000-strong crowd in a celebratory “Phife Dawg” chant.
Check out that footage, along with Phife’s unheard freestyle, below.
Watch: Tim Westwood – Phife Dawg Freesyle Legendary Off The Top Throwback 1999
King Kendrick Lamar pays tribute to the late Phife Dawg from A Tribe Called Quest
Posted by Matt and Alex on Wednesday, March 23, 2016