Malik B Of The Roots Has Reportedly Died At 47

The music world suffered an incalculable loss today with the report that Philadelphia rapper Malik B, a founding member of The Roots, had passed away at the age of 47. The news was initially confirmed on Twitter by both Malik’s cousin, former CBS News correspondent Don Champion, and fellow Philadelphian Reef The Lost Cauze, a close friend and collaborator of The Roots MC who was well-known in the 2000s as a member of underground rap supergroup Army Of The Pharaohs.

Born Malik Abdul Basit in Philadelphia in 1972, Malik B was added to The Roots ahead of the release of their 1993 debut Organix and subsequently appeared on three of the band’s succeeding albums — Do You Want More?!!!??!, Illadelph Halflife, and Things Fall Apart. He left the group, along with several other longtime members, ahead of The Roots’ fifth album, Phrenology. Black Thought dedicated the Phrenology track “Water” to Malik B, detailing their meeting and his addition to The Roots.

Malik had guest verses on Game Theory and Rising Down, the band’s seventh and eighth studio albums, in 2006 and 2008, respectively. Twitter was quickly flooded with messages expressing condolences to the rapper’s family and fond remembrances of his contributions to hip-hop’s rich tapestry. Collaborators like Reef and Mr. Green and peers like J-Live shared videos and links to his standout performances while saying goodbye to the rap pioneer.

As of press time, The Roots’ fellow founders have yet to respond to the news but this post will be updated when they have.