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Phife Dawg, co-founder of influential hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest, has died. The New York-born rapper, whose real name was Malik Isaac Taylor, was 45 years old.
The news was posted by DJ Chuck Chillout on Twitter just after 1 a.m. eastern time Wednesday morning, and music website Bluntiq just tweeted the following: “We’re saddened to report that Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest has passed away. RIP to the legend.” Others, like Aesop Rock, Steve Aoki, and El-P, have chimed in with condolences.
Taylor formed A Tribe Called Quest in 1985 with MC/producer Q-Tip and DJ/producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad. The group is considered one of the pioneers of old-school hip-hop.