Malik Isaac Taylor born November 20, 1970, better known by his stage name Phife Dawg, is an American rapper of Trinidadian descent, and a member of the acclaimed group A Tribe Called Quest with high school classmates Q-Tip and Ali Shaheed Muhammad and for a short time Jarobi White. He is also known as the “Five Foot Assassin” and “The Five Footer”, because he stands at 5 ft 3 in.
In addition to being a member of pioneering hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest, Phife has performed in songs with other artists. He was featured on the Fu-Schnickens song “La Schmoove”, Diamond D’s “Painz & Strife” along with Pete Rock, Chi-Ali’s “Let the Horns Blow” with Dres, Al’ Tariq and Trugoy. In 2000, he released his debut solo album, Ventilation: Da LP. Currently, Phife is anticipating a second album titled Songs in the Key of Phife. He stated on Billboard’s website that he would like to collaborate with Method Man, Faith Evans, De La Soul, Big Boi, and Redman, as well as his fellow ATCQ bandmates.
He is a playable character in the video game NBA 2K7 and NBA 2K9. Phife Dawg has mentioned being a “Funky Diabetic” in Tribe Called Quest songs, and he does indeed suffer from diabetes.
Phife was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in May of 1990, just as his band was taking off. Experiencing constant thirst and bathroom visits, his grandmother, a nurse, tested him for diabetes after a show in Connecticut. Initially, Phife did not take the diagnosis seriously, and maintained his same lifestyle. He was eventually hospitalized before a television appearance in New York City. At the time of his admittance, his blood sugar level was in the thousands.
Phife’s initial resistance to treatment made it necessary for him to go on dialysis (although he recently had a kidney transplant.) During an interview with dLifeTV, Phife welcomed the opportunity to help others to learn from his mistakes.
His message: When you learn you have diabetes, “the first word you have to learn is acceptance.”