Sad and shocking news, rapper Biz Markie has passed away at the age of 57. The “Just a Friend” rapper passed away in Baltimore on Friday. Cause of death has not be revealed.
“It is with profound sadness that we announce, this evening, with his wife Tara by his side, hip hop pioneer Biz Markie peacefully passed away,” his rep Jenni Izumi said in a statement.
“We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support that we have received during this difficult time. Biz created a legacy of artistry that will forever be celebrated by his industry peers and his beloved fans whose lives he was able to touch through music, spanning over 35 years. He leaves behind a wife, many family members and close friends who will miss his vibrant personality, constant jokes and frequent banter. We respectfully request privacy for his family as they mourn their loved one.”
Born Marcel Hall in New York City, he began rapping in local clubs when he met hip hop producer Marley Marl in 1985.
That meeting led to Biz Markie working as a human beatbox with artists MC Shan and Roxanne Shanté.
In his spare time, Hall recorded demos and in 1988, he secured a deal with the Cold Chillin’ label to release his debut album, “Goin’ Off.”
Radio soon caught on and the album launched hits with “Vapors” and “Make the Music With Your Mouth, Biz.”
The following year, his album “The Biz Never Sleeps” went gold, buoyed by what would be his biggest hit, “Just A Friend.”
His playful, sad sack persona was in direct contrast to some of the harder core hip hop that had become popular in the late 1980s.
Biz Markie will be missed…