Hip-Hop fans were rocked by news that Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor passed away this earlier year at the age of 45, sparking a series of tributes for the punchline master. On Saturday, a street corner in Queens was renamed Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor Way in honor of the late A Tribe Called Quest member just a day ahead what would have been his 46th birthday.
During the Saturday afternoon ceremony, Linden Boulevard was co-named as Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor Way at the intersection of 192nd Street in the Saint Albans neighborhood of Queens, New York City. Attendees included A Tribe Called Quest co-members Q-Tip and Jarobi White, extended Tribe family Busta Rhymes and Consequence, rapper Cormega, Hot 97 and ESPN radio personality Peter Rosenberg, city government officials and members of Taylor’s family. Hundreds of excited fans crowded the corner, holding signs, wearing merchandise from Tribe’s pop-up shop in New York City from the previous weekend, and rapping along to the group’s lyrics.
The newly revealed street sign is across the corner from a mural that memorializes A Tribe Called Quest on the wall of Nu-Clear dry cleaners; the group shot their video for “Check the Rhime,” the hit from their 1991 album The Low End Theory, on the roof of the building. Longtime fans know the block from Tribe’s raps, too. “Back in the days on the boulevard of Linden, we used to kick routines and presence was fittin,” Q-Tip rhymed on the track. “Linden Boulevard, represent represent,” Phife proclaimed on “Steve Biko (Stir It Up)” from Tribe’s 1993 third album Midnight Marauders.
Phife makes a posthumous appearance on several tracks for ATCQ’s final studio album, We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service. The Five-Foot Assassin was in top form, reminding many fans of the potency he provided in lyrics for the band. Desha Head Taylor, the widow of Phife, told the publication that her husband often beamed with pride about being from Queens.