Tribe Called Quest Legend Phife Dawg Passes Away at 45

Every once in awhile our tough to the core hip hop world gets sucker punched by life as it deals us a blow we never saw coming. Today marks one of those moments, one of those days where legends transcend time and go from one of the greatest alive to one of the greatest of all-time. A Tribe Called Quest is without a doubt one of the most important rap groups of our culture’s history but that statement doesn’t hold true without Phife Dawg‘s contribution. As we pay homage to the “five foot assassin” we can collectively smile in realizing his impact was much bigger than those numbers indicate, Phife was a GIANT.

Outside of his music there are countless personal interactions with fans and peers alike that gave the world a personal piece of Phife that each can forever treasure. Sway reflects personally sharing his very own recent memory of the two hanging out:

“Last time I saw him he was performing at the Redbull BC one North America finals, last August. Heather B and I had a chance to laugh and perform with him. We talked sports and music. He was in a great mood and we reflected on how long we’ve known each other. I feel like that was divine intervention that we had a proper farewell.”

Tears may fall this week but let them be mixed with ones of joy as we not only say our goodbyes…but we also celebrate a great hip hop life.


Icon of hip-hop culture and a pivotal part of the MTV News team, Sway has been a staple of the music-news arena for more than a decade. From giving Eminem, Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac their very first radio airplay on his local show in the mid-’90s to providing television viewers with their first good look at some of today’s hottest celebrities in music, film, fashion and sports. Sway has been there for some of music and the world’s biggest moments.

Copyright © 2017. Sway's Universe.

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