Phife Dawg’s Family: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Phife Dawg

Rapper Malik “Phife Dawg.” (Getty)

Legendary rapper with A Tribe Called Quest, Malik Isaac Taylor, better known as ‘Phife Dawg,’ is dead at 45. In a statement to E!, Taylor’s family said, “We regret to share the news that on Tuesday, March 22, 2016, Malik has passed away due to complications resulting from diabetes,” the family said in a statement. “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.”

Here’s what you need to know now:


1. His Mother Posted a Touching Tribute To Her Son Via Facebook

Phife Dawg Mom

Malik Taylor is pictured here with his mother, Cheryl. (Facebook/cheryl.boycetaylor)

Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, mother of Malik Taylor, aka Phife Dawg, posted the following heart-wrenching tribute about her son on Facebook this morning:

Family, my heart is shattered at the loss of my beautiful son. Thank you for your love and good wishes. Malik made me so proud, and he was a good and humble son. What holds me is that he brought joy through his music and sports, and that he lived a magical life. He is with his beloved grandmother and his twin brother Mikal today. God bless you Malik Boyce Taylor. Please send prayers to my daughter-in-law Deisha. Thank you. Cheryl & Ceni

As of 9pm CST, the post has already garnered over 95 comments. Though this is going to be undoubtedly one of the worse times of her life, it is evident that Ms. Boyce-Taylor is surrounded by loving support, and people who will be there for her during this trying time.


2. His Wife, Deisha, Donated a Kidney to Try & Save His Life

Phife Dawg died as a result of complications from Type 1 Diabetes. He was diagnosed with the dreaded disease in 1990. The disease had such a profound effect on him, that he unknowingly became an advocate to help promote awareness of diabetes. In October 2013, he told Diabetes Forecast, “It was something I didn’t like talking about. I just happened to mention it on one of our records [“Oh My God,” on 1993’s Midnight Marauders]—‘When was the last time you heard a funky diabetic?’ That’s all I said, which was actually enough … but I was just rhyming.”

In 2008 Taylor’s wife, Deisha Taylor, in a desperate attempt to save the rapper’s life, donated a kidney after he suffered renal failure due to complications of the disease. In 2011, she told Movieline:

It was really tough when we first learned that he was experiencing renal failure. So it was tough on us for the first couple of years. He had to go through dialysis and he was at the clinic three times a week and trying to travel, trying to do music. But once the kidney transplant started approaching and I found out I was a donor, his spirit just sort of changed. It was a miracle that I was the donor. It just changed our lives.

Unfortunately, the transplant didn’t work and before long he was back on the transplant list. During this time he endured dialysis on a daily basis. He told Diabetes Forecast, “I haven’t really spoken about being on dialysis again and needing another kidney. It’s a strain on me as far as going where I want to go, doing what I want to do.”


3. He Had a Twin Brother, Mikal, Whom Preceded Him in Death

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Taylor is preceded in death by his twin brother, Mikal. Though the events surrounding his brother’s death are unclear at this time, it’s absolutely devastating that his mother has lost both of her sons. Ana Silva, a friend of the twin’s mother Cheryl, commented on Cheryl’s post regarding son Malik’s death today:

I am so sorry for what you are going through. As a fellow mother of twins I am speechless at your loss. Please hold on to what is good. You are a mother to many- your poems breed good in the world. Please take care of yourself and let others take care of you right now.


4. His Daughter, Jessica Marcia, Watched Her Father’s Health Decline, & Posted Her Thoughts on Facebook

Phife Dawg Daughter

Phife Dawg’s Daughter, Jessica. (Facebook/jessicasunshineclemmons)

Taylor’s daughter, Jessica Marcia, took to Facebook to talk about her father’s death, especially the devastating effects of the foods and drinks we choose to put into our bodies, has our health.

I watched my father’s health slowly decline over the years from being a diabetic. However, he never stopped drinking PEPSI. He must have drunk 2 ltrs a day.
First his sight, then his legs, then his kidneys and then death….
You have to wonder was those PEPSIs really worth the pain he went through….
Ladies and Gentlemen…Diabetes will kill you, if you do not adopt a healthy diet/lifestyle. Do not suffer from something you can prevent. It’s much more than looking great, it’s about the QUALITY OF LIFE!


5. He Listened Intently to His Mother’s Words of Wisdom, & Was Public About It

Phife Dawg Mom

Cheryl Boyce-Taylor (Facebook//cheryl.boycetaylor)

Phife Dawg and the fellow members of A Tribe Called Quest weren’t too keen on the documentary, Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest, by Michael Rapaport. The documentary focused on the musician’s rise to fame, and the emotional turmoil of breaking up. None of them were looking forward to it and made it public that they didn’t support it. And so you can imagine the jaws that dropped when Taylor not only showed up, but took to the microphone at the film’s premiere. It seemed the audience would be expecting the worst, considering Taylor’s attitude about the film. Instead, he surprised everyone. “I spoke to my mom and she pretty much put the nail in the coffin: ‘You better go and enjoy this, because it’s something that doesn’t happen every day. It’s a movie about your guys’ life and your music and your legacy. The least you could do is enjoy it.”

Not only did he listen to mom, but he heeded the advice with dignity. Putting his grudges on the back-burner, and holding his head high, he went onto tell the crowd, “I want to let you all know that I’m not that bad of a guy. But it is real life and I’m glad Mr. Rapaport was able to bring it to you in such a great way. So thanks, man, for real.”