Biz Markie, the rapper, singer and actor behind the 1989 hit “Just a Friend,” died Friday in Baltimore. Hey 57.
“It is with deep sadness that we announce, tonight, with his wife Tara by his side, hip hop pioneer Biz Markie passed away peacefully,” his representative Jenni Izumi said in a statement.
RELATED: Lisa Curry hospitalized for ‘chest pain’ while sharing heartbreaking photo of her late daughter Jaimi
“We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support we have received during this difficult time.
“Biz created an art legacy that will always be celebrated by his industry peers and beloved fans whose lives he was able to touch through music, spanning more than 35 years.
“He leaves behind a wife, many family members and close friends who will miss his vibrant personality, constant jokes and frequent jokes. We respectfully request privacy for his family as they mourn their loved one.”
He had been suffering complications from diabetes, according to TMZ.
RELATED: Vanessa Bryant shares photos of daughters wearing T-shirts in tribute to her late father Kobe Bryant and sister Gianna
Markie caused a hip-hop sensation with the 1989 single ‘Just a Friend’ from his second album, The Biz never sleeps.
The song’s signature piano melody (interpolated from Freddie Scott’s ‘You Got What I Need’) combined with narrative-driven rap and Markie’s hoarse, messy voice made it a hit, reaching No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and eventually an old-time favorite.
His music video was also a hit, detailing Markie’s romantic troubles in a humorous way, including a scene of Markie at the piano dressed as Mozart.
Born Marcel Theo Hall on April 8, 1964 in Harlem, New York, Markie grew up on Long Island and began his musical career performing at nightclubs and colleges, eventually becoming a member of the famous Marley Marl Juice Crew, where he acted as a beatboxer alongside the likes of Roxanne Shanté and MC Shan.
Although he was not a pioneer in the technique, Markie was one of the more visible early practitioners of beatboxing.
RELATED: Ashton Kutcher Retires From Virgin Galactic Space Flight After Wife Mila Kunis Convinces Him
He released his debut album, Leave, on the Cold Chillin ‘label in 1988, with the singles’ Make the Music With Your Mouth, Biz’, ‘Vapors’ and’ Nobody Beats the Biz ‘which helped it break into the top 100 on the Billboard album chart. . His sophomore record, The Biz never sleeps, followed in 1989, rapidly gaining gold for the success of ‘Just a Friend’.
With his third album, 1991’s I need a haircut, Markie found himself at the center of one of the most momentous battles over copyright law and sampling in hip-hop, when ’70s singer-songwriter Gilbert O’Sullivan sued the rapper for testing his song’ Alone Again. (Naturally) ‘without permission. .
The case went to trial, and the judge ruled against Markie, even referring him to criminal court on possible “robbery” charges.
A criminal case was never brought, but the matter sparked big changes in the way hip-hop producers approached sampling going forward, as well as substantial setbacks for Markie’s career. (Markie made a blatant reference to the case with the title of his next album, 1993 All samples erased!)
His recording production waned after that, though he frequently collaborated with longtime fans. Beastie boys, who featured it on various albums and often put it out during concerts. (His deliriously out of tune rendition of Elton John‘Bennie and the Jets’ was well loved).
It wasn’t until 2003 that he finally released another album, Weekend warrior.
RELATED: Mark Wahlberg had to eat 11,000 calories a day for two weeks to transform his body for the role in Stu
In addition to his music career, Markie made numerous television and film appearances, most notably as an alien rapper on Men in Black II in 2002, and in the children’s television show I gabba gabba.
Markie also appeared in In vivid colors in 1994, he was an announcer for the animated series Crank Yankers and roles expressed in Sponge Bob Square Pants other Adventure time.
Most recently, he appeared on the popular television series. Empire other Blackish Like the same. He was currently in production on the film. Chaaw, which will be released in May 2022.
For a daily dose of 9Honey, Sign up here to get our top news delivered straight to your inbox
Celebrity deaths 2021: stars who died this year