There are reports this morning that Phife Dawg, part 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.
Details have yet to be confirmed.
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.
UPDATE 2:31 a.m.: Statik Selektah just tweeted: “Confirmed. rest in peace Phife. Man. I’m out.”
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.
We’ll post any updates as they become available.