Malik Taylor, aka the Five Foot Assassin, aka Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest died unexpectedly this spring, and since then a series of memorials have honored his vital and lasting impact on hip-hop. Now, Okayplayer reports that the city will honoring Phife by co-naming a street after him in his old Queens neighborhood.
Writing in a text message, Taylor's management told the site that Mayor Bill de Blasio will sign a bill to co-namea portion of Linden Boulevard at 192nd Street in St. Albans "Malik 'Phife Dawg' Taylor Way." The singing will reportedly take place on Wednesday, August 3rd at 10 a.m. inside City Hall.
City Council Member I. Daneek Miller's office confirmed the co-naming in an email to Gothamist Monday, and clarified that the co-naming will entail an additional street sign bearing Phife's name placed underneath the current sign. Council Member Miller submitted the co-naming proposal in early May after speaking with Taylor's widow.
This particular section of Linden Boulevard is sacred ground for A Tribe Called Quest and its fans. Taylor rapped about learning to rap there on "Check the Rhime" and "Steve Biko," and in the following his funeral, Taylor's family steered a procession past nearby St. Albans Park. In the 2011 documentary Beats, Rhymes, & Life, Taylor recounts learning how to rap with his friend and future ATCQ bandmate Q-Tip along Linden Boulevard when both were teenage unknowns.
Taylor died on March 22nd at the age of 45 due to complications related to diabetes.
Confirmation of the street co-naming comes roughly a month after the unveiling of a mural depicting the album covers of ATCQ's Low End Theory and Midnight Marauders. The mural stretches across the entire back wall of a laundromat near the corner of Linden Boulevard and 192nd Street.
Permanently re-naming a New York City street is an arduous process, which may explain the decision to co-name it instead. Either way, it's hard to argue with "Check the Rhime": Back in the days on the Boulevard of Linden/we used to kick routines and the presence was fitting.