LOS ANGELES (AP) – Biz Markie, a hip-hop staple known for his beatbox prowess, mastery of the turntables and the 1989 classic “Just a Friend,” has passed away. He was 57 years old.
Markie’s representative Jenni Izumi said the rapper-DJ passed away peacefully on Friday night with his wife by his side. The cause of death has not been released.
“We are grateful for the many supportive calls and prayers we have received during this difficult time,” Izumi said in a statement. “Biz has created an artistic legacy that will forever be celebrated by his industry peers and his beloved fans whose lives he has touched on through music, spanning over 35 years. He leaves behind. a woman, many of her family and close friends who will miss her vibrant personality, constant jokes and frequent jokes.
Markie, whose birth name was Marcel Theo Hall, became known in the rap genre as the self-proclaimed “Clown Prince of Hip-Hop” for his playful lyrics and humorous nature. He made music with the Beastie Boys, opened for Chris Rock’s comedy tour, and was a sought-after DJ for countless star-studded events.
The New York native’s musical career began in 1985 as a beat boxer for Juice Crew, a rap collective he helped Big Daddy Kane join. Three years later, he released his first album “Goin ‘Off”, which featured underground hits “Vapors” and “Pickin’ Boogers”.
Markie burst into mainstream music with her song “Just a Friend”, which sold platinum, the first single from her second album “The Biz Never Sleeps”. The Friends Zone Anthem cracked Rolling Stone’s Top 100 Pop Songs and made VH1’s 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs of All Time list.
“This one hurts … RIP my Aries brother …” Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest said on twitter, where a wave of mourning for Markie grew, “ahhh man @BizMarkie damn you will miss you so many memories.”
Questlove said he learned from Markie early in his career.
“Biz built me up man,” Questlove posted. on Instagram with a photo of him and Markie. “When I started out, it was Biz who taught me the REAL places to save cop records… .Biz taught me which cities had good digs… ..Biz taught me where to collect 45…… Biz taught me where to collect 8TRACK TAPES !! “
After two successful albums, Markie was sued for copyright infringement over a song from his third studio album “I Need a Haircut” in 1991. He and his label, Warner Bros. Records, were sued by the Irish singer Gilbert O’Sullivan who claimed that elements of his 1972 hit “Alone Again (Naturally)” were illegally sampled in Markie’s “Alone Again”
The judge decided to stop the distribution of the album, which was reissued without the illegal track. The judgment also changed the musical sampling landscape by dictating that they were pre-approved by the original owner.
Despite the setback, Markie released her fourth album “All Samples Cleared!” in 1993, it was an apparent reference to the legal battle. He released his last album “Weekend Warrior” a decade later.
Markie has kept his name relevant as he regularly booked over 175 shows a year, according to the rapper’s website. He appeared in television shows such as “In Living Color”, “Empire” with “black-ish” and the 2002 film “Men in Black II”, in which he played an alien parody of himself in the movie with Will Smith and Tommy. Lee Jones.
Markie also taught the beatboxing method on an episode of the children’s show “Yo Gabba Gabba!
“We’ve lost another rap legend, Mr. Biz Markie,” Parliament-Funkadelic bassist Bootsy Collins tweeted. “For many of us, he was more than just a friend.”