Biz Markie, ‘Just a Friend’ Rapper, Lifeless at 57

Biz Markie, the pioneering rapper, producer, and beatboxer whose jovial goofiness, boundless, off-kilter creativeness and progressive audio designed him a singular presence in each hip-hop and pop tradition at large, died Friday at the age of 57.

“It is with profound unhappiness that we announce, this night, with his spouse Tara by his aspect, hip hop pioneer Biz Markie peacefully passed away,” his rep Jenni Izumi claimed in a statement. “We are grateful for the a lot of calls and prayers of help that we have received during this challenging time.

“Biz established a legacy of artistry that will eternally be celebrated by his marketplace peers and his beloved fans whose lives he was capable to touch through audio, spanning around 35 many years,” Izumi additional. “He leaves behind a wife, a lot of loved ones customers and close close friends who will pass up his vivid persona, consistent jokes and frequent banter. We respectfully request privacy for his family members as they mourn their cherished just one.”

When a result in of loss of life was not unveiled, the rapper experienced struggled in new yrs with wellbeing challenges related to his 10 years-prolonged battle with Variety 2 diabetic issues. In April 2020, he was hospitalized because of to difficulties associated to the disease, and later that year experienced a stroke. Though the rapper was rehabilitating, his ailment ongoing to decrease, foremost to premature reviews of Markie’s loss of life in late June.

“Biz is still beneath healthcare treatment, surrounded by gurus who are operating hard to supply the ideal health treatment feasible,” Izumi wrote in a statement to Rolling Stone at the time.

About the training course of five albums — most notably 1988’s Goin’ Off and 1989’s The Biz Under no circumstances Sleeps — the producer-MC, whose serious identify was Marcel Hall, made his individual model unlike any other rapper at the time: a mix of fifty percent-sung (and intentionally off-critical) choruses, riveting beatboxing, and foolish humor that would receive him the nickname the “Clown Prince of Hip-Hop” and pave the way for gloriously strange rappers like Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Although deemed 1 of hip-hop’s largest 1-hit wonders — VH1 placed his 1989 classic “Just a Friend” at Number 81 on its 2000 list of the best a person-hit wonders of all time — the rapper’s effect prolonged far beyond hip-hop’s finest mate-zone lament.

The Harlem-born, Very long Island–raised MC was a member of the famous Juice Crew, the Queensbridge collective assembled by DJ Magic Mike and Marley Marl, and showcasing fellow rappers like Major Daddy Kane, Masta Ace, Roxanne Shante, and Kool G Rap.

Markie’s debut one, the Marl-manufactured “Make the Music With Your Mouth, Biz” in 1986, showcased the “human beatbox” abilities that would become a trademark all over Markie’s occupation his beatboxing skills ended up so otherworldly, he was forged in a cameo part as a beatboxing, mail-sorting alien in 2002’s Men in Black II.

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With Marl as producer, Markie launched his 1988 debut LP, Goin’ Off, on the Juice Crew’s Chilly Chillin’ Records. Though not a crucial achievements, the album featured the enduring underground hits “Vapors,” “Nobody Defeat the Biz” — a play on the jingle of a New York electronics retail store — and “Pickin’ Boogers,” the latter of which highlighted the Clown Prince’s unique mix of humor and hip-hop. When Rolling Stone requested the rapper in 2018 if the tales he explained in “Vapors” have been true, he replied, “Dead genuine. Everything. I did not know how to compose no other way.” The music would go on to be sampled by every person from Notorious B.I.G. to Ice Cube, though the “Pickin’ Boogers” line “Now enable me just take a vacation down memory lane” would later on aspect prominently on Nas’ Illmatic traditional “Memory Lane (Sittin’ in da Park).”

In 1989, Markie produced what would develop into his most profitable album The Biz By no means Sleeps, many thanks to its breakout observe “Just a Mate.” With a hook showcasing Markie’s hound-puppy croon on an interpolation of Freddie Scott’s 1968 music “(You) Got What I Need” — and aided by a in the same way comedic new music movie that solid Markie as Mozart — the observe attained Range Nine on the Billboard 100 in 1990, the only platinum-marketing strike of Markie’s profession.

The storied hook supply occurred more by happenstance than style and design. “I asked folks to sing the section, and no one confirmed up at the studio,” he told Entertainment Weekly in 2019, “so I did it myself.”

“Usually when I make a document I know what the likely is likely to be, but I didn’t know that ‘Just a Friend’ was heading to be that significant,” Markie reported in 2013. “‘Just a Friend’ opened a environment up exactly where I in no way understood the distinction between remaining a pop star and a frequent rap star. It was crazy.”

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Markie subsequently introduced I Need to have a Haircut in 1991, even though his profession hit a litigious stalling stage thanks to his unauthorized use of a Gilbert O’Sullivan sample on the observe “On your own Once more.” Whilst the ensuing Grand Upright Songs Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Information Inc. wasn’t the to start with sampling lawsuit, its judgment had a landmark impression on hip-hop: Next the judge’s ruling — which, according to NPR, integrated a $250,000 fine, a halt on product sales of I Need a Haircut, and, most bewildering, the suggestion that Markie facial area criminal prices for theft — file labels had been forced to get clearance on all samples by the unique copyright holders.

The Clown Prince of Hip-Hop took the ruling in stride and channeled the incident into his 1993 album, All Samples Cleared, which lampooned the court scenario by working with a sample of 5 distinct renditions of the very same tune, Allen Toussaint’s “Get Out of My Existence Female.”

Even though Markie would launch only one additional album through his lifetime — 2003’s Weekend Warrior — he remained a cultural mainstay thanks to appearances on comedy sequence (In Residing Color, Crank Yankers, Wild’n Out) children’s shows (SpongeBob SquarePants and Yo Gabba Gabba, wherever Markie was also a member of the touring device) “as himself” cameos (Black-ish, Empire, Hip-Hop Squares) and numerous VH1 “I Appreciate the …” specials. Markie also featured on Beastie Boys’ protect of Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets,” the Avalanches’ “The Noisy Eater,” Flaming Lips and Kesha’s “2012 (You Must Be Upgraded),” De La Soul’s “Stone Age,” and Freddie Gibbs and the Alchemist’s “God Is Fantastic.”

Speaking to Rolling Stone in 2018 on “Vapors,” Markie claimed, “I always glimpse at data like, if it has a fantastic emotion, it’s gonna have a excellent feeling for a very long time.”

Biz Markie – “Nobody Beats the Biz”

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De La Soul – “Stone Age”

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Biz Markie – “Let Me Flip You On”

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Biz Markie – “Pickin’ Boogers”

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