Rapper Malik B. (full name Malik Abdul Basit), one of the founders of The Roots, passed away. He was 47.
The Philadelphia native’s cousin Don Champion confirmed his death on Wednesday, July 29.
“Mourning my beloved cousin today,” he wrote via Twitter. “He was so talented and had a huge heart. I remember when he and The Roots started. He gave me and my father their tapes to listen to. I miss you already, Mailk. #REST IN PEACE.”
No cause of death has been reported.
Malik B. was best known as an original member of hip hop group The Roots, which started next Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson late 80’s. Malik was part of the band from 1987 to 1999 debut.
He appeared on four albums before his departure and was featured on The Roots’ seventh album, Game theory, in August 2006.
After news of his death, the group – which currently consists of Black Thought, 48, Questlove, 49, Kamal Gray, Captain Kirk Douglas, James Poyser, Mark Kelley and Ian Hendrickson-Smith – mourned the loss of his former member through social media.
“We regret to inform you about the passing of our beloved brother and longtime Roots member Malik Abdul Baset,” the band said in a statement on Wednesday via Twitter. “May he be remembered for his dedication to Islam and innovation as one of the most gifted MCs of all time. We ask you to respect his family in his mourning time. ‘
Black Thought reflected his friendship with the musician in an Instagram tribute on Wednesday.
“We made a name for ourselves and built a lane where there was none. We resurrected a city from the ashes, put it on our back and called it Illadelph, ” He wrote. “In friendly competition with you from day one, I always felt I had only a fraction of your true gift and potential. Your sample sharpened my sample as I watched you create cadences from the ether and release them into the universe to become poetic law, making the English language your bitch. I’ve always wanted to change you, to somehow refine your view and show you that there were many more options than the streets, just to realize that you and the streets were one … and there was no way to separate a man from his true self. ‘
He continued, “My beloved brother M-illitant. I can only hope that I made you as proud as you made me. The world just lost a real one. May Allah forgive you, forgive your sins and bestow the highest level of paradise. #MalikB #TheLegendaryRootsCrew. ”
Mr. Green (real name Aaron Green) too tribute to his former employee, tweet, “rip at the big Malik B, this one hurts.”
The rapper released two studio albums and an EP after walking away from the Philadelphia-born group. He dropped Street Assault in 2005 and followed up with the Psychological EP the following year before partnering with Mr. Green for 2015’s Unpredictable.
The Roots became the house band for Late Night With Jimmy Fallon in March 2009 and followed him to The Tonight Show in 2014.
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