The Five Foot Assassin lives on. Following the untimely passing of Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor and the touching tributes that ensued, Tim Westwood dedicates his weekly throwback freestyle series to the Tribe Called Quest legend.
The never-before-heard clip comes from 1999 and it features Phife rhyming alongside Wildchild and Madlib. With the nimble flow that made him famous, the Funky Diabetic unleashes rhymes about John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and his discography.
“It’s been a long time,” he raps. “Since ‘Bonita Applebum,’ ‘Award Tour,’ and ‘Check the fricken Rhyme’ / It don’t matter. What’s the deal? / ‘Cause the microphone, I keep it Cheryl Lynn real.”
Remember the legend in this 1999 freestyle below.
Sadness over Phife’s passing has hit the hip-hop community in various ways. For instance, Busta Rhymes, who collaborated with A Tribe Called Quest, released a heartfelt message on Instagram about the beloved Five Footer.
“I’ve known this man for over 28yrs and I think I’ve seen him in the last 4 months the happiest that I’ve seen him in a very long time,” said Busta. “It was apparent that every wish that he had was coming true and I can honestly say that I was witnessing the anointing frm a bird’s eye view 1st hand. Until we meet again King, RIP.”
I had to spend the last 2 days going thru a lot of honest thoughts and emotions b 4 I spoke because this one hurts soooo fucking much. I can't begin to explain what @iamthephifer and @qtiptheabstract and @jarobiwhite and @alishaheed means to me and how much they have done for my life. These guys are my big brothers, my friends, and the dudes that always protected me frm the bullshit that came with life both personally and professionally in a way that only big brothers can do it. If u look at this picture closely, on the night of one of my my most magical moments in my 25 year journey in music DEC.5th 2015, I was able to have a dream come true in a way that it never had and that was to perform What's the scenario (original and the rmx) for the 1st time ever back to back with all of the original members of Leaders of the New School and A Tribe Called Quest since we recorded these songs in 1991 & 1992. That night was so magical with all of the love that was under one roof that it's too much to get into the details of but again please take another look at this picture, if u notice @iamthephifer had his hand on my back consoling me as I kneeled down to give thanks crying tears of joy because of how proud of a moment that was for me being able to end a 4 hour set with brothers who put me in a position where I was able to tell my mother she will not have to work for anyone over 20 yrs ago. The belief that they had in me puttin' me and Leaders on that record, putting me last on the record because back then being last on the record meant EVERYTHING, I had no idea at that time what they were setting me up in life to be but thru out the years it was so consistent their love and concern for my well being that it was no way I couldn't see it. Ever since that concert I have had the opportunity to spend time with Phife way more than I have been able to in over 10yrs. I've known this man for over 28yrs and I think I've seen him in the last 4 months the happiest that I've seen him in a very long time. It was apparent that every wish that he had was coming true and I can honestly say that I was witnessing the anointing frm a bird's eye view 1st hand. Until we meet again King, RIP