By Brian Ives 

(RADIO.COM) – On Wednesday (March 23rd), as the music world learned the tragic news that Phife Dawg from A Tribe Called Quest passed away due to complications resulting from diabetes. Soon, fans, friends and peers took to social media to express their shock and pay their respects.

Actor/Director Rapaport Goes On An Award Tour

Rappers Ali Shaheed Muhammad, Jarobi White, Phife Dawg and director Michael Rapaport (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)

Actor/Director Michael Rapaport dedicated a new episode of his I Am Rapaport Play.It podcast to the MC. That’s because Rapaport directed Beats Rhymes and Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest, the 2011 documentary on the legendary hip-hop group.

In the episode of his podcast, Rapaport and co-host G. Moody ruminate over Tribe’s significance, and also Phife’s importance to the group.

His first impression of Phife: “Nice dude. Good dude. Honest dude. Sweet dude. Sensitive dude. Vulnerable. New York guy: all Queens, all day. Mets, Jets, Knicks. The biggest Knicks fan I’ve ever met.”

“The first time I interviewed him,” he recalled, “I had no idea what he was going to talk to me about. I knew [he had] diabetes, I didn’t know the extent of it. The first time we interviewed him, he broke down in tears, and we broke down in tears. And he talked about his wife. He needed a kidney transplant… and his wife gave him [her] kidney… He, specifically, gave us his soul.” The Beats, Rhymes and Life documentary is essential viewing for any hip-hop fan, as are Tribe’s first four albums.

Listen to the episode of I Am Rapaport at


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