Kendrick Lamar paid tribute to Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor moments before he started his concert in Sydney, Australia.
As reported by Rolling Stone, Kendrick learned of Phife Dawg’s death just moments before he took the stage at his concert in Sydney. Once he got on stage, Lamar paid the Tribe Called Quest founder an emotional tribute that lasted a minute — and a powerful one minute it was.
“Today, we lost one of the pioneers in hip-hop, by the name of Phife Dawg,” Lamar addressed the audience. “Right now, ain’t nobody cheering about me. We’re gonna give it up for him, for allowing me to do what I’m doing on this stage right here, right now, today. Let’s get this chant going.”
Lamar then started chanting “Phife! Dawg!” Before long, the crowd chanted along with the rapper. Lamar ended the tribute with the words, “Forever hip-hop. We’re gonna be alright.”
Kendrick Lamar, known for the unique way he blends jazz and hip-hop, is now regarded by many as the most popular rapper in the music industry. His To Pimp a Butterfly album has been met with critical success since it arrived in March of last year. Lamar also won the award for Best Rap Album at the Grammy’s this year.
Kendrick mentioned many times in the past how Phife Dawg’s turbulent rhymes and poetic efficacy influenced his To Pimp a Butterfly album, which, of course, made his tribute to the deceased rapper at his Sydney concert all the more moving.
Many other artists in the hip-hop community, including Questlove, Public Enemy’s Chuck D, Just Blaze, El-P, and more, have paid respects to Phife Dawg soon after “The Five Footer” died.
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!
Rest In Beats PHIFE ATCQ Forever pic.twitter.com/jwYNU6YLJ8
— Chuck D (@MrChuckD) March 23, 2016
Artists outside the hip-hop community also paid tribute to the deceased rapper via social media, including Sean Lennon, Best Coast, Flying Lotus, and Jenny Lewis.
RIP Phife ????
— Best Coast (@BestCoast) March 23, 2016
Malik Taylor, popularly known as Phife Dawg, died Tuesday due to complications from diabetes, confirmed Rolling Stone. Phife Dawg was 45.
Phife Dawg had been struggling with the disease for years. In 2008, he underwent a kidney transplant as required by his physician. The rapper confessed many times in the past that he was addicted to sugar.
“It’s really a sickness,” Taylor said in Beats, Rhymes & Life, Michael Rapaport’s candid 2011 documentary on A Tribe Called Quest. “Like straight-up drugs. I’m just addicted to sugar.”
“Malik was our loving husband, father, brother and friend,” said Malik’s family in a statement. “We love him dearly. How he impacted all our lives will never be forgotten. His love for music and sports was only surpassed by his love of God and family.”
“Family, my heart is shattered at the loss of my beautiful son,” Taylor’s mom, Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, posted on Facebook. “Thank you for your love and good wishes. Malik made me so proud, and he was a good and humble son. What holds me is that he brought joy through his music and sports, and that he lived a magical life. He is with his beloved grandmother and his twin brother Mikal today. God bless you Malik Boyce Taylor. Please send prayers to my daughter-in-law Deisha.”
After appearing on all five of the A Tribe Called Quest’s albums, which include 1991’s The Low End Theory and 1993’s Midnight Marauders, Malik broke up and reunited with the group multiple times since the release of 1998’s The Love Movement. While the group reunited for live shows numerous times in the past, they always came short of recording a new album.
Despite his illness, Phife Dawg was able to record his only solo album Ventilation: Da LP in 2000. He expressed numerous times that he wished to record more new material but his diabetes symptoms always deterred him from doing so.
[Image via alex.abood/Instagram]