Rest in power!
Beloved hip-hop pioneer Biz Markie passed away Friday. He was 57. Markie solidified his place in hip-hop history following the success of his platinum-selling Top 10 hit “Just A Friend,” which has become a pop-culture staple throughout the decades. His signature beatboxing and jovial demeanor had him labeled as the “Clown Prince of Hip-Hop” by his peers in the industry.
His manager, Jenni Izumi, confirmed his death in a statement to USA Today, saying his wife was by his side as he joined the ancestors.
“Biz created a legacy of artistry that will forever be celebrated by his industry peers and his beloved fans whose lives he was able to touch through music, spanning over 35 years. He leaves behind a wife, many family members, and close friends who will miss his vibrant personality, constant jokes, and frequent banter.”
The iconic rapper was born Marcel Theo Hall on April 8, 1964, in Harlem and got his rap moniker by shortening Bizzy B and his neighborhood nickname, Markie. . He collaborated with fellow hip-hop trailblazers, Marley Marl, Roxanne Shanté and Big Daddy Kane, beginning his career as a teenage beatboxer and freestyle rapper. He eventually made a name for himself as the goofball in the Queensbridge-based collective the Juice Crew and its Cold Chillin’ label, being mentored the influential radio D.J. Mr. Magic. He began his career in New York clubs in the 1980s and began performing at colleges around the country
In 2019, on the 30th anniversary of his hit record, he spoke to Entertainment Weekly about how the song came to fruition.
“I was talking to this girl – the first girl I ever talked to. And every time I would call out to California, a dude would pick up and hand her the phone. I’d be like, “Yo, what’s up (with him)?” She’d say, “Oh, he’s just a friend. He’s nobody.” And I came out there a week early just to surprise her, and she’s tongue kissing somebody — and I caught her! So instead of me fighting, I put the pain into the pen and wrote it out.”
The rapper who was also a producer and actor appearing in “In Living Color,” “Men In Black II,” and most recently making cameos on the children’s show, “Yo Gabba Gabba” with his segment “Biz’s Beats of the Day.” He had a voice-over career and weekday show on SiriusXM’s LL Cool J’s Rock the Bells Radio channel that continued his presence in music.
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RIP to my friend and music legend Biz Markie. A DJ, rapper, and producer Biz Markie really knew how to rock a party! Cookie and I will never forget when he came to our 25th anniversary event in Europe and kept everyone on the dance floor!
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) July 17, 2021advertisement
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— John Leguizamo (@JohnLeguizamo) July 17, 2021
— Martin Lawrence (@realmartymar) July 17, 2021
the world famous apollo theater lit up to honor harlem native biz markie pic.twitter.com/1L0y2KkJUAadvertisement
— Rajji Vikram (@RajathNY1) July 17, 2021
Damn, lost another real one.
Biz Markie, gone too soon.RIP, Biz.advertisement
— BrooklynDad_Defiant! (@mmpadellan) July 17, 2021
— Timbaland (@Timbaland) July 17, 2021
Loved you Biz Markie!! Loved your music!!! RIP ❤ pic.twitter.com/aHzxGPe03badvertisement
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) July 17, 2021
— PUBLIC ENEMY (@PublicEnemyFTP) July 17, 2021
My close friend Bizmarkie.. Is gone at 57.. We shared a tour bus our very 1st tour ‘The Dope Jam Tour’ @LegendaryCOOLV , TJSwan.. We were all so young and hype. Enjoy every single moment of life with your friends and family. “Life is Short” via RunDMC
— ICE T (@FINALLEVEL) July 17, 2021
I can remember so many times trying to beat box like you until my lips was sore & whenever we saw each other your energy was always so full of Life/Love/& Good Vibes Your impact in the culture Is 4EVER & you will NEVER be Forgotten Rest king @BizMarkie pic.twitter.com/gCzsdzQtwS
— Missy Elliott (@MissyElliott) July 17, 2021
The world mourns the loss of yet another musical icon that brought so much life to their craft.
Photo Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images