Biz Markie, the man who made us all think twice when our girl says “he’s just a friend”, has passed away.
Biz Markie (Marcel Theo Hall) passed at the age of 57, his passing was confirmed by his manager Jenni Izumi.
His manager Jenni Izumi confirmed the rapper’s passing with the following statement:
“It is with profound sadness that we announce, this evening, with his wife Tara by his side, hip hop pioneer Biz Markie peacefully passed away,”
“We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support that we have received during this difficult time. 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. We respectfully request privacy for his family as they mourn their loved one.”
Markie grew up in Long Island, before moving to New York to pursue his music career. In the early stages of his career, he would collaborate with hip-hop trailblazers such as Marley Marl, Roxanne Shante, and Big Daddy Kane. Markie would start as a beatboxer and freestyle rapper before making a name for himself as the resident court jester of Queensbridge-based collective the Juice Crew and its Cold Chillin label.
Markie’s debut album was “Goin Off” in 1988, in which he established himself as a bumbling upstart with a juvenile sense of humor.
Markie’s most prominent hit was “Just a Friend” which was released on his 1989 album, “The Biz Never Sleeps”. It was his only song to go platinum, reaching No. 5 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Singles chart and No. 9 on the all-genre Hot 100.
Markie would become an icon of the alternative hip-hop genre, collaborating with Slick Rick, Will Smith, Wu-Tang Clan, Coolio, Fat Joe, the Avalanches, Kesha, the Flaming Lips, Canibus, the Aquabats, Len, and the Beastie Boys.
Markie also made several appearances in film and television. Appearing in Men and Black as a rapping alien. He also appeared on such shows as In Living Color, Yo Gabba Gabba, Crank Yankers, and Spongebob Square Pants. Unfortunately, Markie was in the process of filming Eric Orr’s Chaaw. The project highlighted the stories of victims injustice in America.
Markie was hospitalized in April last year due to complications following a diagnosis with Type 2 diabetes. In December he was living in a Maryland rehabilitation facility after suffering a diabetic coma and stroke.
RIP Good Sir, you will be missed.