Thursday, May 26

Biz Markie, Rapper Known For Just a Friend, Dies At 57 | Hip hop

Biz Markie, the New York rapper, beatboxer and producer, has died at 57.

Markie’s representative Jenni Izumi said the rapper and DJ died peacefully Friday night with his wife by his side. The cause of death has not been revealed.

“We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support we have received during this difficult time,” Izumi said in a statement. “Biz created a legacy of art that will always be celebrated by his industry peers and his loving fans whose lives he was able to touch through music, spanning more than 35 years. He leaves behind a wife, many family members, and close friends who will miss his vibrant personality, constant jokes, and frequent jokes. “

A very endearing figure who emerged in the nascent hip-hop scene of the mid-1980s, he achieved his greatest success in 1989 with Just a Friend, which reached number 9 on the US charts.

He was diagnosed with diabetes in 2014 and was hospitalized for weeks with the disease in 2020.

Tributes for the rapper arrived on Friday night.

“The one who hurts baad”, tweeted Tribe Called Quest, rapper Q-Tip. “RIP my Aries brother … I’m going to miss you.”

“We lost another rap legend”, tweeted musician Bootsy Collins, while Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea wrote: “All my love to the only bearer of love and joy, the great Biz Markie. I will beat your records until the day I die. “

Born Marcel Hall in 1964, Biz Markie got his start on the New York hip-hop club circuit and became known for his flair for freestyle and beatboxing. He was hired by DJ and producer Marley Marl to beatbox tracks he was making for artists like Roxanne Shanté, and that skill was combined with lyricism on his groundbreaking solo track, Make the Music With Your Mouth, Biz.

It was featured on the 1988 debut album Goin ‘Off alongside tracks such as Pickin’ Boogers, an ode to nasal mucus that showed off his goofy humor, and Vapors, which was later covered by Snoop Dogg.

Biz Markie in 1988.
Biz Markie in 1988. Photograph: David Corio / Getty Images

The following year he released the second album The Biz Never Sleeps. Encouraged by the single Just a Friend and its glorious, occasionally tuned chorus, sung to an indecisive would-be lover, the album became his biggest hit and was certified gold in 1990.

The follow-up to I Need a Haircut was less successful and did not make the US Top 100. Gilbert O’Sullivan sued Markie after its release for the song Alone Again, which featured the song’s chorus and piano accompaniment. O’Sullivan’s Alone. Again (naturally). A court ruled against Markie, who ironically titled his upcoming album All Samples Cleared !; the decision changed the way samples were used in hip-hop, requiring that they be erased before release.

Performing in 2008 at the VH1 Hip-Hop Honors.
Performing in 2008 at the VH1 Hip-Hop Honors. Photograph: Lucas Jackson / REUTERS

Markie released just one more album, 2003’s Weekend Warriors, but continued to tour (including as a DJ), made film and television appearances, and performed guest raps with other artists.

He appeared on the Beastie Boys tracks Do It, The Biz vs The Nuge, and Intergalactic, and sang on Benny and the Jets, his version of the Elton John song. He appeared alongside Slick Rick in the Will Smith song So Fresh, and later acted alongside Smith in a cameo on Men in Black II. He was sampled by the Rolling Stones for their 1997 song Anybody Seen My Baby ?, and was a guest on the 2016 Avalanches album Wildflower. In 2020, he became a host for the American radio station Sirius XM.

Immortal Technique, Rosario Dawson, Kerry Washington and other stars have shared their condolences and offered memories of Markie’s work and her impact on the New York City music scene.

“When I was a teenager we used to sneak out on Monday night to go to the hottest party in New York. Soul Kitchen taught how to let music live in my body, “wrote Washington. On twitter. “Whenever we saw Biz in 1 and 2 we were in awe. He was a genius. Rest in peace and soul. “

Even the biggest in New York Bill de Blasio intervened, saying, “Biz Markie turned hip hop upside down and brought that New York sense of humor to audiences around the world. Tonight we are mourning a true son of Harlem. “

The Associated Press contributed reporting

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