It’s been four months since the untimely death of Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor and the dedications are still rolling in. In the latest memorial, the widely-celebrated member of A Tribe Called Quest is getting a street named after him in his old stomping grounds.
Phife Dawg’s management confirmed the news to Okayplayer via text message on Saturday (July 30). According to the site, the street, Linden Boulevard, will be co-named after the rapper as Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor Way, at the intersection of 192nd street in Queens, New York.
The neighborhood also serves as Phife Diggy’s neck of the woods (St. Albans) where he and Q-Tip began the aforementioned alternative hip-hop group in 1985. The two, along with Jarobi White and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, would later craft critically-acclaimed albums like The Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders.
Phife Dawg often rapped about the neighborhood as well. “Linden Boulevard represent, represent,” he rapped in Midnight Marauders‘ “Steve Biko (Stir it Up).” Phife Dawg and Q-Tip also went on a nostalgic trip to the time they used to rock shows in their hometown in the track, “Check the Rhyme” off of The Low End Theory.
“Back in the days on the boulevard of Linden / We used to kick routines and presence was fittin / It was I, The Abstract,” rapped Q-Tip before Phife jumepd in with “And me the five footer / I kicks the mad style so step off the frankfurter.”
The two, who often played off of each other’s rhymes, continued the act later on in the song as well.
“Back in days on the boulevard of Linden / We used to kick routines and the presence was fittin’ / It was I the Phifer,” rapped Phife before Q-Tip chimed in with “And me The Abstract / The rhymes were so rumpin’ / that the brothers rode the ‘zack.”
Q-Tip, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Busta Rhymes, Mac Miller, and Wiz Khalifa have been some of the many artists who have since paid tribute to the Five-Foot Assassin through performances and words.
Lamar shared a few words at his show in Sydney, Australia just minutes after hearing of Phife Dawg’s death. “Today, we lost one of the pioneers in hip-hop, by the name of Phife Dawg,” he told the crowd. “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 later had a crowd cheering “Phife! Dawg!” “Forever hip-hop. We’re gonna be alright,” he said to the crowd afterward.
West also shared a few words during a tribute for the late rapper at the legendary Apollo Theater in Harlem. “When I see the power in this room… [The] Low End Theory was the first album I ever bought and I stayed in the suburbs of Chicago with my stepfather,” said West. “I’d always get into trouble for listening to music during the week and then I would have to go to detention or study hall, but I enjoyed it ’cause I had that Tribe tape and it didn’t really matter how long that walk was.”
Along with its wide selection of music lovers’ favorites, the group is known for sparking the alternative hip-hop movement with other acts like De La Soul, Jungle Brothers, Brand Nubian, Digable Planets, The Pharcyde, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Digital Underground and Arrested Development in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
The news of the co-naming arrived on the same day that A Tribe Called Quest’s fourth album, Beats, Rhymes & Life, turned 20-years-old.
The ceremony where Mayor Bill de Blasio signs the bill to put the co-name into action is slated to happen on Aug. 3 at 10 a.m. at City Hall in Lower Manhattan.
Phife Dawg, who suffered from diabetes, died in March due to complications from the illness. He was 45.
[Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images]