There are few names in music that transcend their genre, and Biz Markie was one of them. He will be sorely missed by music fans of all kinds.
Tragically, reports came out on Friday, July 16 that the classic hip-hop rapper and producer passed away at the age of 57. According to TMZ, Marcel Theo Hall, better known as Biz Markie, passed away at 6:25 p.m. ET on Friday. Further, his wife, Tara Hall and the rapper’s family were all by his side as he passed.
The outlet names his cause of death as related to complications from a worsening battle with diabetes.
It’s a tragic loss for his family, and for fans of good music. Markie pushed the envelope of what hip-hop was willing to talk about as well as blending influences from other genres and comedy into his music.
Unfortunately, Biz Markie’s death was one that was thought to be coming. Earlier in July, rumors and false reports said that the rapper had passed, only for his manager to come out and say that wasn’t the case.
“Biz is still under medical care, surrounded by professionals who are working hard to provide the best healthcare possible,” his manager Jenni Izumi said.
Izumi also told NBC News that the family was aware of fans’ support.
“Biz’s wife and family are touched by the outpouring of love and admiration from his friends, peers and fans alike,” Izumi said. “At this time, we ask for your continued thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”
The Legend of Biz Markie
When one thinks of Biz Markie, the immediate thought goes to “Just a Friend.” While his career expanded far past that, it is his biggest cultural touchstone and a great example of his style.
Blending singing and rapping, the artist’s unique and unforgettable voice stuck with listeners. “Just a Friend” reached No. 9 on the U.S. Top 100, which was a huge feat in the early popularization of hip-hop.
What came next can only be described as the rapper achieving his dream. Three more hits ended up in the top 10 of the U.S. rap charts. This was alongside a flurry of features on other popular rapper’s songs.
A New York City native, he worked with other prominent artists of that scene and era. The Beastie Boys, Wu-Tang Clan and Slick Rick all recorded with Biz Markie.
In the later stages of his career, Biz Markie kept up with rapping, but expanded his profile. Besides producing and DJing, Markie appeared in films like Men in Black II as well as appearing across many television shows.