On the evening of Friday, July 16th the world of Hip-Hop was dealt with yet another devastating loss. Legendary pioneer Biz Markie took his final breath after battling complications from a stroke last year due to his ongoing struggle with Type 2 Diabetes.
Everyone from the entertainment world were initially unsettled as just weeks prior, there were false reports of the performer’s demise which sparked an uproar within the rap circuit as dignitaries spoke out on social media demolishing accusations but once words came by those who shared close ties with the artist, the outpouring of emotions overflowed.
“Biz” was a name that best suited his caliber, an innovator of showbiz with limitless skills. A Rapper, DJ, Record Producer, Writer, Actor, Comedian and intentional off-key Singer-where he flexed his humorous side dubbing him the “Clown Prince of Hip-Hop” but was universally known as the captivating beatboxer succeeding originator, the Great Doug E. Fresh.
Marcel Theo Hall was born in Harlem, NY and raised in Long Island. He began his career in the clubs of NYC as a member of the ingenious Rap group “Juice Crew” with fellow groundbreakers DJ Magic Mike, Marley Marl, Big Daddy Kane, Masta Ace, Roxanne Shante and Kool G Rap.
Biz loved to entertain and bring life to the party performing in some of New York City’s iconic venues The Tunnel, Latin Quarters, Roseland and The Rooftop. His goofy antics mixed with his vivacious flare was what made him uniquely special and what made anything he formulated a sure fire smash.
His 1988 debut album “Goin’ Off ” laid the blueprint to the height of his success which later would become the foundation of his legacy. “Make The Music With Your Mouth, Biz” “Nobody Beats The Biz” and “Vapors” are timeless Hip-Hop classics still present day.
But it wasn’t till his Platinum blazing single “Just A Friend” off his 1989 follow-up album “The Biz Never Sleeps” that made him the global icon paving the way for future rap artists to make it in the game.
In his latter years, the “Inhuman Orchestra”, another tag donned by the lyrical scholar, went on to release several other LP’s, making countless guest appearances on T.V. and the silver screen playing an alien version of himself freestyling his phenomenal beats in the sequel “Men In Black 2” along Will Smith & Tommy Lee Jones, landing his own segment “Biz’s Beat of the Day” on Nick Jr’s “Yo Gabba, Gabba”, hosting long-time homie LL Cool J’s “Rock The Bells” Sirius radio show and, returning to his roots lacing the ones and two’s at show stopping events.
Biz helped launch the careers for some of the most prolific MC’s to ever hit the mic-smooth operator himself Big Daddy Kane, DJ phenom Kid Capri including serving as mentor and friend to an incalculable line-up of entertainment industry VIP’s Roxanne Shante, MC Lyte, D-Nice, Will Smith, and LL Cool J who took to Instagram Friday night paying an emotional tribute saluting his fallen brother.
“A GOOD heart stopped beating this evening…and I was there for the last one….Biz fought till the end, like the true legend he is. Biz passed his strength to me during his transition while holding his hand. He knows I’ll need it to carry on the rest of my life without him. Rest King Biz!” stated his wife Tara Hall via Instagram.
We were all blessed to have experienced the multitude of talent, joy and love of Biz shared within his thirty-five year career, we’re grateful for the laughter he brought us and will forever pay homage to his legacy. He is survived his wife and their two children.