Microphone Check, 1, 2, What is This?
Damn. It was another sad day waking up to the jarring news of the passing of someone young, talented and beloved, that touched the lives of so many bringing joy, talent and wisdom.
Not that there ever really is a good time, but at 45, rapper Malik Taylor, a.k.a., Phife Dawg, founding member of legendary hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest was clearly taken before anyone was ready, of course his family and friends, but additionally the millions of fans of his incredible work. The cause of his death, an illness that affects black in disproportionally high numbers, a reminder that for all his trailblazing work and talent for unifying, illnesses do not care.
Check out this traffic reporter’s homage to Phife Dawg.
His work with TCQ, called a “landmark fusion of hip-hop and jazz” by Rolling Stone, and wealth of work will clearly live on far past his brief life. What may not be discussed as much, but should, is the cause of his death so that others can be spared.
A blight particularly strong amongst blacks, diabetes and its trigger, sugar, has taken too many lives and negatively affected many more. “African Americans are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic whites,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human services. In addition, “African American adults are 80 percent more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to have been diagnosed with diabetes by a physician.”
At the young age of 20, “The Funky Diabetic’s” battle with the illness had begun, and in his own words it was due to his addiction to sugar. “Like straight-up drugs. I’m just addicted to sugar.”
Doctors and scientists have been doing work to make people aware of the dangers of sugar, and its being spoken about more as an addiction like drugs. And with the green juice craze and American’s getting healthier, it’s got to be a bigger focus amongst African-Americans.
When someone so bright, so talented, is taken, because of sugar, maybe it will make the rest of us realize our choices every day, not only impact ourselves, but those who love us.
And then maybe we’ll understand what is this.
Until then, as A Tribe Called Quest wrote, Rest in Power, Phife.
Check out the following compiled quotes from Phife Dawg. As we listened to them all day in the office, smiling, sharing memories to these amazing tunes over the years. As should be done.
Rest in Power, Phife.
I like em brown, yellow, Puerto Rican or Haitian.
Name is Phife Dawg from the Zulu Nation
I’m vexed, fumin, I’ve had it up to here
My days of payin dues are over, acknowledge we is in there(YEAH)
“Can I kick it? To my Tribe that flows in layers/Right now, Phife is a poem sayer.”
-Can I kick it
“Talk a lot of trash but no one can seem to beat it/ Pull out your microphone and watch the Phifer make you eat it.”
– Lyrics to Go
Back in `89 I simply slid into place
Buddy, Buddy, Buddy all up in your face
Alot of kids was bustin’ rhymes but they had no taste
Some said Quest was Wack, but now is that the case
I have a quest to have a mic’ in my hand
Without that, it’s like Kryptonite and Superman
So Shaheed come in with the sugar cuts
Phife Dawg’s my name but on stage call me Dynomutt
When was the last time you heard the Phifer sloppy
Lyrics anonymous, you’ll never hear me copy
Top notch baby, never comin’ less
Sky’s the limit, you got’s to believe up in Quest
Sit back relax, get up off the path
If not that, here’s the dance floor, come move that ass