More sad news for the hip-hop community today, TMZ reports that rapper Biz Markie, born Marcel Theo Hall, has passed away at age 57 due to complications from diabetes. In 2020, he was hospitalized due to the same issue and has now succumbed to the disease. TMZ cites a family source who confirmed the rapper died in a Baltimore hospital at 6:25 PM tonight.
“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 to Rolling Stone. “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,” Izumi added. “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.”
A member of the Juice Crew, out of New York, and primarily known for his rhymes penned by Big Daddy Kane (also of the Juice Crew), the rapper, singer, DJ, record producer, actor, comedian, and writer was a multi-talented artist and entertainer who earned the title “Clown Prince Of Hip-Hop.”
His debut album Goin’ Off was released in 1988 and included underground singles “Nobody Beats The Biz” and “Vapors.” His second album, The Biz Never Sleeps came out just a year later, and even if you’re unfamiliar with Biz Markie’s extended catalogue, odds are most people have heard his breakout hit from this record, “Just A Friend.” After its release in 1989, it became a global hit, and still gets played even today, decades later.
His third album I Need A Haircut came out in 1991, and was followed up in 1993 with All Samples Cleared!. That title referenced a landmark sampling case one of his songs, “Alone Again,” was involved in. Later on, he released his final solo album, Weekend Warrior, in 2003. Aside from his career in music, Markie was also an on-screen presence and a comedian, including an appearance in Men In Black II and a stint opening for Chris Rock’s “No Apologies” tour in 2008.
Rest in peace to a legend.