Kendrick Lamar dedicated his show in Australia to rap legend Phife Dawg, shortly after the news of his death broke online.
Reports of the A Tribe Called Quest’s icon’s passing first surfaced in the early hours of Wednesday (23Mar16), and Kendrick learned of the news as he prepared to perform for fans in Sydney.
He decided to take a moment during his set to honour the memory of Phife Dawg by calling on audience members to hold up their cell phones to light up the atmosphere.
“Today, we lost one of the pioneers in hip-hop, by the name of Phife Dawg,” Kendrick told the crowd. “Right now, ain’t nobody cheering about me (sic). We’re gonna give it up for him, for allowing me to do what I’m doing on this stage right here, right now, today.”
He then led fans in a chant of “Phife Dawg”, before adding, “Forever hip-hop, we gonna be alright (sic).”
Phife Dawg’s family members have since confirmed the death of the 45-year-old, real name Malik Taylor, who had battled ill health in recent years and underwent a kidney transplant in 2008.
A statement issued to E! News on Wednesday afternoon (23Mar16) reads: “We regret to share the news that on Tuesday, March 22, 2016, Malik has passed away due to complications resulting from diabetes. Malik was our loving husband, father, brother and friend. We love him dearly. How he impacted all our lives will never be forgotten. His love for music and sports was only surpassed by his love of God and family.”
Kendrick wasn’t the only rapper mourning the loss of Phife, who was also known as the Five Foot Assassin and The Five Footer for his small frame.
Questlove of The Roots, Snoop Dogg, and Chuck D were among the first stars to pay tribute online, while Black Eyed Peas rapper Taboo took to Twitter to write, “We lost our brother @IamthePHIFER from @ATCQ – he will be missed – #greatesthiphopgroup #influence”.
“ANYBODY who knows me, knows I am a huge TribeCalledQuest fan!” added former Destiny’s Child star Kelly Rowland. “My heart goes out to Phife’s family, his fellow group members, friends and everyone whose lives he’s touched in an extraordinary way!
Reggaeton star Daddy Yankee also took a moment to remember the legend, posting, “RIP Phife Dawg, one of my favorite rap group of all time”, and actor Seth Rogen tweeted, “I’ve loved tribe since I was 13 and still listen to them more than anything. This sucks. #RIPPhifeDawg”.
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