Biz Markie performs for fans during halftime of the Denver Nuggets’ 105-99 victory over the Phoenix Suns in an NBA basketball game in Denver on Dec. 12, 2009. The hip-hop staple known for his beatboxing prowess, turntable mastery and the 1989 classic “Just a Friend,” has died. He was 57. Markie’s representative, Jenni Izumi, said in a statement that the rapper-DJ died peacefully Friday, July 16, 2021, with his wife by his side. No cause of death was released. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Rapper, singer, DJ and producer “Biz Markie” has died. He was 57.
Born Marcel Theo Hall on April 8, 1964 in Harlem, the music icon passed at a Baltimore hospital Friday.
At the time of his death, Markie was experiencing complications from type 2 diabetes. It was reported Markie had a stroke during a diabetic coma in December 2020.
Markie is best known for his 1989 Top 40 hit “Just a Friend.” But the pioneer also made history in the case Grand Upright Music, Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Records Inc.
Sampling, a still ongoing practice and tradition in rap and hip-hop, is a feature of “Just a Friend;” and the technique lived in a legal gray area for decades in a space between Fair Use and infringement of intellectual property. Gilbert O’Sullivan sued when Markie’s “Alone Again” sampled O’Sullivan’s “Alone Again (Naturally).” O’Sullivan prevailed in court, but the ruling cemented hip-hop as the new viable million-dollar verging on billion-dollar music industry.
Markie’s fellow artists responded on social media:
“I can remember so many times trying to beat box like you until my lips was sore,” Missy Elliot (@MissyElliott) tweeted after the news. “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”
“‘Reagan Is The Prez but I voted for Shirley Chisholm.’” Chuck D (@MrChuckD) tweeted. “Set me off on a political lyrical path style for Rebel Without A Pause. Notice the records both start with Marv & Bizs YES! RIB.”
“He’s Biz Markie (the star of the show)
He’s Biz Markie (hard working)
He’s Biz Markie (Mr. Dynamite)
NOBODY BEATS THE BIZ (Rest In Beats)” Ice Cube (@icecube) tweeted.
“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,” Jenni Izumi, Markie’s manager wrote in a press statement. “He leaves behind a wife, many family members and close friends who will miss his vibrant personality, constant jokes and frequent banter.”
Help us Continue to tell OUR Story and join the AFRO family as a member – subscribers are now members! Join here!