Phife Dawg will forever live through his music with A Tribe Called Quest, and in the coming weeks, the late, great lyricist will be memorialized with a street named after him.
Next month, Phife’s family will unveil the naming of a portion of Linden Boulevard at 192nd Street in the St. Albans neighborhood of Queens, New York City as “Malik ‘Phife Dawg’ Taylor Way.” The site is where the music video for Tribe’s “Check The Rhyme” was filmed, and where a recent mural of the group is displayed.
The unveiling will be open to the public, and is set to begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 19 – one day before Phife Diggy’s birthday.
Phife Dawg died at age 45 on March 22, 2016 from complications relating to diabetes. He famously spoke about his health condition in his music, with the line, “When’s the last time you heard a funky diabetic?” on Tribe’s song, “Oh My God”.
November’s unveiling comes after months of planning and scheduling. District 27 Council Member Daneek Miller initiated the request to co-name the street, and Okayplayer reported the announcement on July 30. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the bill to make it official on Aug. 3.
“The thought of having Linden Boulevard at 192, renamed to Malik ‘Phife Dawg’ Taylor is indescribable. This is a perfect representation of who Malik was, and what Queens meant to him,” said Phife’s wife Deisha Head Taylor in a statement. “Whenever he mentioned Queens, Linden Boulevard at 192, was a focal point of reference, so I am certain he would be pleased with having it renamed in his honor. We are extremely grateful for those who were part of the entire process; from the initial effort to the signing of the bill, this historical moment means so much to his family, friends, and fans.”
Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, Phife’s mother and a renowned poet, was especially moved considering her family’s journey to the United States.
“I’m in awe as an immigrant mother. My family came from Trinidad to the US in the 50’s and 60’s. We worked as housekeepers, nannies and home attendants to educate ourselves and our children,” Boyce-Taylor said in a statement. “For a moment I lost faith in this country. The renaming of 192nd St. & Linden after my son Malik, has made my American Dream come through.
“I am so happy. He was an incredible child. I was blessed to know and love him.”
Phife’s family has also partnered with the e-commerce platform Teespring to release a t-shirt to celebrate the occasion. The design shows the new street sign and features a Phife lyric from “Jazz (We’ve Got),” a song on A Tribe Called Quest’s album The Low End Theory. Friend and business partner Dion Liverpool said he and the family launched the Official Phife Apparel to give fans a direct way to show their love for Phife, since so many bootleg shirts have circulated after Phife’s passing.
More info on the gear will be released sooner than later, so keep your receptors up and open.
is a journalist who covers music, pop culture, film/TV, race, culture and social justice. He is an editor at Okayplayer, and his work has appeared in Complex, Billboard, Guardian, NPR, MTV, Ebony, HipHopDX, The Flint Journal-MLive, and other publications.