Phife Dawg (Malik Taylor) may have been small in stature, but since news of his untimely passing first broke, it’s been clear that his impact on music was nothing short of gigantic. Everyone from Nicki Minaj to Kendrick Lamar has weighed in on the legendary rapper’s influence, and now, we’re hearing from A Tribe Called Quest itself, the revolutionary group that Phife co-founded when he was just a teenager.
The group released an official statement on Wednesday honoring the mighty Phife.
“Our hearts are heavy. We are devastated,” the statement reads. “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 group said in the statement. “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,” the group wrote. “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,” the statement concludes.