Today in Hip Hop History: November 20, 1970
Malik Isaac Taylor, aka Phife Dawg, was born in Queen, New York in 1970. Phife Dawg is of Trinidadian descent and a member of the classic jazz hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest. Phife Dawg is also known under the monikers “Phife Diggy,” “The Five Footer,” and “Five Foot Assassin.”
He met up with fellow ATCQ members, Q-Tip, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White, in 1988. The four of them officially joined up and were labelled “A Tribe Called Quest” by fellow Native Tongues artists, the Jungle Brothers. Since then, the group has become one of hip hop’s most notable groups for their pioneering sound and positive vibes.
The raspy voiced MC became known for his witty punchlines, knowledge on sports and self-confidence within his rhymes. After the group’s unfortunate split in 2000, Phife released his debut album, Ventilation: Da LP, through Groove Attack Records the same year. As of now, the album is his only solo release.
In addition to his musical endevors, Phife Dawg is an avid sports fan. He is a playable character in the video games NBA 2K7 and NBA 2K9, and even has featured on various sports radio and ESPN shows. Additionally, Phife has starred in the comedy film Who’s The Man?, the kids cartoon film The Rugrats Movie and the Tribe documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest.
Happy 45th birthday to one-third of one of my favorite hip hop groups of all time, Malik Isaac “Phife Dawg” Taylor!