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

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Biz Markie, the pioneering rapper, producer, and beatboxer whose jovial goofiness, boundless, off-kilter creativeness and innovative audio built him a singular presence in both hip-hop and pop society at substantial, died Friday at the age of 57.

“It is with profound unhappiness that we announce, this night, with his wife Tara by his aspect, hip hop pioneer Biz Markie peacefully handed absent,” his rep Jenni Izumi mentioned in a assertion. “We are grateful for the quite a few calls and prayers of help that we have been given all through this tough time.

“Biz created a legacy of artistry that will for good be celebrated by his business peers and his beloved fans whose life he was in a position to touch as a result of tunes, spanning in excess of 35 a long time,” Izumi added. “He leaves driving a wife, many family users and near friends who will pass up his lively personality, continuous jokes and regular banter. We respectfully ask for privacy for his family as they mourn their beloved one.”

Though a lead to of dying was not uncovered, the rapper experienced struggled in new many years with health and fitness concerns related to his ten years-long battle with Form 2 diabetes. In April 2020, he was hospitalized because of to difficulties associated to the disorder, and afterwards that year endured a stroke. Even though the rapper was rehabilitating, his issue ongoing to decrease, main to untimely studies of Markie’s demise in late June.

“Biz is even now beneath clinical care, surrounded by experts who are operating difficult to supply the very best well being care achievable,” Izumi wrote in a assertion to Rolling Stone at the time.

About the training course of five albums — most notably 1988’s Goin’ Off and 1989’s The Biz In no way Sleeps — the producer-MC, whose real identify was Marcel Hall, produced his possess type as opposed to any other rapper at the time: a mix of 50 %-sung (and deliberately off-key) choruses, riveting beatboxing, and foolish humor that would make him the nickname the “Clown Prince of Hip-Hop” and pave the way for gloriously bizarre rappers like Ol’ Dirty Bastard. Despite the fact that considered one of hip-hop’s most important one particular-hit wonders — VH1 put his 1989 traditional “Just a Friend” at Number 81 on its 2000 checklist of the finest one-strike wonders of all time — the rapper’s effects prolonged considerably over and above hip-hop’s finest mate-zone lament.

The Harlem-born, Extensive Island–raised MC was a member of the legendary Juice Crew, the Queensbridge collective assembled by DJ Magic Mike and Marley Marl, and that includes fellow rappers like Large Daddy Kane, Masta Ace, Roxanne Shante, and Kool G Rap.

Markie’s debut solitary, the Marl-produced “Make the New music With Your Mouth, Biz” in 1986, showcased the “human beatbox” capabilities that would come to be a trademark during Markie’s job his beatboxing skills were so otherworldly, he was cast in a cameo purpose as a beatboxing, mail-sorting alien in 2002’s Gentlemen in Black II. out?v=WpQjN7yQ_8c

With Marl as producer, Markie introduced his 1988 debut LP, Goin’ Off, on the Juice Crew’s Cold Chillin’ Documents. When not a vital achievement, the album showcased the enduring underground hits “Vapors,” “Nobody Conquer the Biz” — a enjoy on the jingle of a New York electronics retail outlet — and “Pickin’ Boogers,” the latter of which highlighted the Clown Prince’s unique blend of humor and hip-hop. When Rolling Stone asked the rapper in 2018 if the stories he explained in “Vapors” ended up authentic, he replied, “Dead true. Everything. I did not know how to write no other way.” The tune would go on to be sampled by anyone from Notorious B.I.G. to Ice Dice, although the “Pickin’ Boogers” line “Now let me just take a vacation down memory lane” would later on attribute prominently on Nas’ Illmatic common “Memory Lane (Sittin’ in da Park).”

In 1989, Markie released what would turn into his most prosperous album The Biz Never Sleeps, thanks to its breakout track “Just a Close friend.” With a hook that includes Markie’s hound-pet dog croon on an interpolation of Freddie Scott’s 1968 tune “(You) Bought What I Need” — and aided by a likewise comedic music video that cast Markie as Mozart — the keep track of reached Amount 9 on the Billboard 100 in 1990, the only platinum-promoting hit of Markie’s vocation.

The storied hook supply occurred more by happenstance than style and design. “I asked individuals to sing the aspect, and nobody confirmed up at the studio,” he advised Entertainment Weekly in 2019, “so I did it myself.”

“Usually when I make a file I know what the possible is heading to be, but I didn’t know that ‘Just a Friend’ was heading to be that large,” Markie reported in 2013. “‘Just a Friend’ opened a globe up in which I in no way realized the variation among remaining a pop star and a standard rap star. It was insane.”

Markie subsequently released I Want a Haircut in 1991, however his profession hit a litigious stalling place thanks to his unauthorized use of a Gilbert O’Sullivan sample on the monitor “By yourself Once more.” While the ensuing Grand Upright Songs Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Documents Inc. wasn’t the initially sampling lawsuit, its judgment had a landmark impression on hip-hop: Subsequent the judge’s ruling — which, according to NPR, involved a $250,000 high-quality, a halt on profits of I Need a Haircut, and, most bewildering, the suggestion that Markie confront criminal costs for theft — document labels were compelled to get clearance on all samples by the original 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 employing a sample of 5 distinct renditions of the similar track, Allen Toussaint’s “Get Out of My Lifestyle Lady.”

Although Markie would launch only one particular much more album in the course of his lifetime — 2003’s Weekend Warrior — he remained a cultural mainstay many thanks to appearances on comedy series (In Dwelling Shade, Crank Yankers, Wild’n Out) children’s shows (SpongeBob SquarePants and Yo Gabba Gabba, the place Markie was also a member of the touring device) “as himself” cameos (Black-ish, Empire, Hip-Hop Squares) and innumerable VH1 “I Adore 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 Should Be Upgraded),” De La Soul’s “Stone Age,” and Freddie Gibbs and the Alchemist’s “God Is Great.”

Talking to Rolling Stone in 2018 on “Vapors,” Markie stated, “I often glance at information like, if it has a great feeling, it is gonna have a good feeling for a long time.”

Biz Markie – “Nobody Beats the Biz” out?v=eK7XCXN55Hw

De La Soul – “Stone Age” out?v=PfYwLXPt7Gw

Biz Markie – “Let Me Convert You On”

Biz Markie – “Pickin’ Boogers” out?v=FjJvBarVRss