Rapper, singer and actor Biz Markie died Friday in Baltimore, according to his representative. The Harlem-born performer and hip hop pioneer had “his wife Tara by his side” when he died of complications from diabetes. He’s 57 years old.
Born Marcel Theo Hall, “Hip Hop’s Clown Prince” had his biggest hit in 1989 with the hit song “Just A Friend” from his album. Biz never sleeps. Tracking has gone through 26 weeks on BillboardsHot 100 . Chart, reached fifth place. The humorous song about romantic disappointment was featured in a video that started with a group of young men playing dozens and introduced bizarre twists on the piano dressed as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The track is an interpretation of Freddie Scott’s 1968 R&B tune, “(You have what I need, “Same tune but doesn’t end with” oh, snap! “
Markie’s career began in clubs from New York to Washington, DC, and his first album, 1988 Goin’ Off, featured an underground hit, “Nobody Beats The Biz. “It’s not just sampling Steve Miller but is quoted from a particularly annoying jingle for a now-defunct local electronics store chain.
His third album, I need a haircut, debuted in 1991, was a turning point for hip hop and copyright law. Rockers of the 1970s Gilbert O’Sullivan sued for the unauthorized use of a sample of his song”Alone again (naturally)“In Markie’s Song,”Lonely again. “The suit has long term consequences for the music business. Markie’s next album is boldly named All templates have been deleted!
During the 1990s, Markie began appearing in film and television, first in Robert Townsendsuperhero movie Meteor Man and on sketch comedy shows like Vivid color. He played an alien in Barry Sonnenfeldhit in 2002 The Man in Black II, reunited him with Will Smith. (He rapped on “So Fresh” from Smith’s 1999 album 1999 Willenium.) The ’90s and early ’90s also saw Markie make guest appearances on several Beastie Boys albums.
As an actor, Markie has lent his voice as the announcer of the Comedy Central series Crank Yankers. His longest TV puppet career was with Nickelodeon Yo Gabba Gabba! He appeared on 44 episodes (as himself) from 2007 to 2019 and also in Yo Gabba Gabba! Direct! just.
Biz’s departure drew much tribute from colleagues and fans online.