Earlier today, the tragic reports of Malik B, co-founding member of The Roots, passed away. A statement from the crew’s Twitter page confirmed his passing, though there haven’t been many details surrounding the cause of death.

Malik was a driving force in the group, especially upon their inception in the late 80s. He featured prominently on their albums Organix, Do You Want More?!!!??!, Illadelph Halflife and Things Fall Apart. Needless to say, he was a vital member of their early years. As tributes flooded the timeline, Black Thought penned an emotional tribute to Malik B and detailed their relationship as friends, rappers, and group members.

We made a name and carved a lane together where there was none. We ressurected a city from the ashes, put it on our backs and called it Illadelph. In friendly competition with you from day one, I always felt as if I possessed only a mere fraction of your true gift and potential. Your steel sharpened my steel as I watched you create cadences from the ether and set them free into the universe to become poetic law, making the English language your bitch. I always wanted to change you, to somehow sophisticate your outlook and make you see that there were far more options than the streets, only to realize that you and the streets were one… and there was no way to separate a man from his true self. My beloved brother M-illitant. I can only hope to have made you as proud as you made me. The world just lost a real one. May Allah pardon you, forgive your sins and grant you the highest level of paradise.

RIP Malik B!