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Biz Markie, best known for the iconic rap song “Just a Friend,” has passed away.

Biz On July 25, 2014, Markie visits the 20th Century Fox press line at Comic-Con International in San Diego. He was a hip-hop legend recognized for his beatboxing skills, turntable dexterity, and the 1989 hit "Just a Friend." He was 57 years old at the time. Jenni Izumi, Markie's publicist, revealed in a statement that the rapper-DJ died peacefully with his wife by his side on Friday, July 16, 2021. The reason of death has not been revealed.

Biz Markie, a hip-hop legend famed for his beatboxing prowess, turntable dexterity, and the 1989 hit “Just a Friend,” has died.

Jenni Izumi, Markie’s publicist, said the rapper-DJ passed away peacefully Friday evening with his wife at his side. The cause of death is yet unknown.

In a statement, Izumi stated, “We are grateful for the countless calls and prayers of support that we have received during this difficult time.” “Biz created a legacy of talent that will be long celebrated by his industry peers and the millions of fans whose lives he was able to touch through music over the course of his 35-year career. His colorful personality, incessant jokes, and regular banter will be missed by his wife, many family members, and close friends.”

 

For his cheerful lyrics and comical personality, Markie, whose birth name was Marcel Theo Hall, became recognized within the rap genre as the self-proclaimed “Clown Prince of Hip-Hop.” He was a sought-after DJ for a slew of star-studded events, having worked with the Beastie Boys and opening for Chris Rock’s comedy tour.

He began his musical career in 1985 as a beatboxer for the Juice Crew, a rap group he helped Big Daddy Kane join. He launched his debut album, “Goin’ Off,” three years later, which included the underground singles “Vapors” and “Pickin’ Boogers.”

Markie’s platinum-selling single “Just a Friend,” the first single off his sophomore album “The Biz Never Sleeps,” catapulted him into the mainstream. The friend-zone hymn made VH1’s list of the 100 greatest hip-hop songs of all time, as well as Rolling Stone’s top 100 pop songs.

“This one aches like hell… RIP, my Aries brother…” “Ahhh dude @BizMarkie dang I’m going to miss u so so many memories,” tweeted Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest on Twitter, where an outpouring of grief for Markie was rising.

Markie taught Questlove early in his career, according to him.

Questlove captioned a photo of himself and Markie on Instagram, “Biz built me, man.” “Biz was the one who taught me where to get records in the beginning… Biz showed me which cities were suitable for digging….. Biz showed me where I could find 45s…… Biz showed me how to get 8TRACK TAPES!!”

Markie was served with a copyright infringement case for a song on his third studio album, “I Need a Haircut,” in 1991, after two successful albums. Gilbert O’Sullivan, an Irish singer, sued him and his label, Warner Bros Records, alleging that elements from his 1972 song “Alone Again (Naturally)” were unlawfully sampled in Markie’s “Alone Again.”

The judge ordered that the album’s distribution be halted and that it be republished without the illegal material. The ruling also altered the landscape of music sampling by requiring pre-approval by the original owner.

 

Despite the loss, Markie released his fourth album, “All Samples Cleared!” in 1993, which was ostensibly a reference to the legal dispute. A decade later, he released his final album, “Weekend Warrior.”

According to the rapper’s website, Markie kept his name current by consistently booking more than 175 performances every year. He’s been on series including “In Living Color,” “Empire,” and “black-ish,” as well as the 2002 film “Men in Black II,” in which he portrayed an alien parody of himself with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.

 

In an episode of the children’s show “Yo Gabba Gabba!” Markie also taught the beatboxing technique.

Mr. Biz Markie, we have lost another rap legend,” Parliament-Funkadelic bassist Bootsy Collins tweeted. “He was more than just a friend to a lot of us.”