Phife Dawg: An Everyman Hero of Hip-Hop Stands Proudly Small

March 23, 2016 9:22 PM

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Phife Dawg: An Everyman Hero of Hip-Hop Stands Proudly Small

Hip-hop excels at poeticizing excess. Wealth, toughness, libido, swagger: The more of it there is, the thinking often goes, the better the song will be.

An Everyman hero in a genre full of big talkers, Phife Dawg — born Malik Taylor, known as Phife for short — who died on Tuesday at 45, was the steadying presence in A Tribe Called Quest, the group that in the early 1990s became one of the standard-bearers of earthy, socially progressive, musically r...

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