Biz Markie (pioneering beatboxer and 'Just a Friend' rapper, dies at 57

Biz Markie was an American original, Marcel Theo Hall, and a hugely influential figure in hip-hop, has passed away at the age 57. Hall is well-known for his career that spanned back to 1986. He was also a cultural icon later in his life. Hall was known for his spirited personality and his 1989 hit "Just A Friend". Jenni D.Izumi, his manager confirmed Hall's death.

Biz Markie (pioneering beatboxer and 'Just a Friend' rapper, dies at 57

Izumi said via email that "we are grateful for all the calls and prayers of support we have received throughout this difficult time." "Biz left a legacy of artistry which will be remembered by his peers in the industry and his loved fans, whose lives he touched through music for over 35 years.

Hall was reportedly ill for several months. However, Izumi didn't provide any official cause of death.

Biz was born in Harlem, when Rap was still a young genre. It was an era of freedom and innovation that was both innocent and wildly forward-thinking. Born in Harlem, Biz moved to Long Island as a teenager. The 1986 Dutch hip-hop documentary Big Fun in the Big Town, which was filmed in New York, provided a good introduction to him for anyone not in New York. It shows a tall, lean beatboxer wearing a hat with large letters that spell out "Biz Markie" Onstage, he's a feisty fellow crewmate, Roxanne SHante. Biz and Roxanne Shante are having a lively back-and forth as the camera zooms in, showing the ease with which he can pack a party or move people through his natural voice and presence.

He was a standout in Juice Crew. A brilliant collective, led by Marley Marl, a visionary who assembled an elite team of talent and character that could only be matched by the ethereal Wu-Tang Clan. The crew, which was mainly based in Queensbridge, were founded by Mr. Magic, a radio DJ, and later placed on Tyrone Williams’ record label, Cold Chillin’ Records. Marley produced their first release, 1984's Roxanne's Revenge. It featured a 15 year-old Roxanne SHante. This charismatic release was a huge success and is responsible for Juice Crew's early successes.

This young group was made up of many greats, including Big Daddy Kane and Masta Ace, MC Shan, and others. They were the forefront of their time, and a formidable group that encouraged the newschool in the midst of rap's explosive mid-1980s popularity. Each member had their own unique traits. Biz was the joker in a group of serious rhyme specialists, while Kane was the dance playboy and G Rap was the hustler. Although his delivery was not as smooth as others, he used props and costumes to make the most of his size. He beatboxed while pushing the mic into his neck and was the best joker. His self-deprecation was refreshing in a world that is full of braggadocio. It was a refreshing contrast to the rest of his career. He remained true to his roots. Many refer to him as the hip-hop's "clown Prince."

Biz's 1988 debut solo album Going' Off, was produced by Marley Marl. It featured singles such as "Make the Music with Your Mouth Biz", "Nobody Beats the Biz" and "Vapors," which remain his most memorable. This hilarious tale of success, envy, and failure proved to be a huge hit. He ends the song by muttering, "Can I be down champ?" They said "No!" They said 'No!' and treated me like a wet food stamp.

The Biz Never Dies, Markie's second album, was not only Markie’s most well-known track, but also the most enduring rap song, "Just A Friend". It cleverly samples Freddie Scott's "You Got What I Want" and was his biggest single, charting at No. 9 on Billboard. Biz is seen wearing a powdered hairdo, imitating Mozart at the piano. The story-rap was about constant rejection and was supported by an earworm chorus. Biz can be seen weeping on the cover for the 12-inch single, big frown and handkerchief included.

You need to login to comment.

Please register or login.

RELATED NEWS