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Phife Dawg (1970 - 2016)

Getty Images / FilmMagic / Rodrigo Vaz

Phife Dawg (1970 - 2016)

Phife Dawg, a rapper and a founding member of the hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest, has died, according to multiple news sources, including Billboard and Rolling Stone.

Dawg, who was born Malik Isaac Taylor Nov. 20, 1970, formed the chart-topping group with his high school classmates Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Kamaal Ibn John Fareed, formerly Jonathan Davis, who took the stage name Q-Tip. Jarobi White was also involved at the beginning, but only for a short time.

Taylor was just 19 when he contributed verses to the band's debut album "People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm." Though the album didn't make waves in the mainstream, it drew a devoted fanbase with iconic songs such as "Can I Kick It?".

The group's second album, "The Low End Theory," helped pave the way for 1990s alternative hip-hop. Other popular albums include "Midnight Marauders" and "Beats, Rhymes, and Life."

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Actors and fellow musicians shared their condolences Wednesday on social media platforms, including actor Marlon Wayans and rapper Chuck D of Public Enemy:

"Phife didawg... #RIP fam love you brother. You left the world with jewels man. My childhood…"

— marlon wayans (@MarlonWayans)

Rest In Beats PHIFE ATCQ Forever

— Chuck D (@MrChuckD)

In an essay in Billboard magazine, the musician Questlove of the Roots, the house band on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," paid tribute to A Tribe Called Quest, noting that he borrowed Quest for part of his stage name.

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