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Markie was best known for her single “Just a Friend” and had cameos in the movie. Men in Black II and the TV show Sponge Bob SquarePants.

Posted July 17, 2021 at 3:29 p.m. ET

David Corio / Redferns via Getty Images

Biz Markie in London in 1988

The death of legendary rapper and “Clown Prince of Hip-Hop” Biz Markie on Friday sparked a wave of gratitude and admiration from fans and fellow performers.

“It is with deep sadness that we announce, this evening, with his wife Tara by his side, the pioneer of hip-hop Biz Markie passed away peacefully,” said his manager, Jenni Izumi, in a statement sent to Friday. BuzzFeed News. “Biz has created an artistic legacy that will forever be celebrated by his industry peers and his beloved fans whose lives he has touched on through music, spanning more than 35 years. He leaves behind. a woman, many family members and close friends who will miss her vibrant personality, constant jokes and frequent jokes. “

The cause of death was not immediately made public. However, Markie, 57, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the end of the quarantine and was hospitalized last year for an extended period due to disease-related complications, according to TMZ.

Markie – whose first name was Marcel Theo Hall – was born in Harlem and was known for his beatboxing and goofy character.

He was best known for his 1989 platinum single, “Just a Friend,” and went on to make some well-received cameos in the film. Men in Black II and as Kenny the Cat on the TV show Sponge Bob SquarePants. He also appeared on the children’s show Yo Gabba Gabba, where he taught kids to beatbox.

Although he never again had a hit that achieved the same popularity as “Just a Friend”, he was friends with many other artists, including Marley Marl, Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J and Questlove, and collaborated with some of them.

On Friday, friends and fans shared memories and favorite clips of Markie performing on social media.

In a tearful video posted to Instagram, LL Cool J said he remembered “running around Queens and Long Island” with Markie when they were younger, and being with Markie in the basement. from his grandmother when he wrote the song “Rock the Bells”.

“I’m glad we got to do what we have to do towards the end.… I love you, man, peace,” said LL Cool J.

Musician Questlove also shared an emotional post on Instagram, writing about everything he learned from Markie. He also called Markie DJ back at a White House Correspondents Association dinner and he lit up the room.

“Biz built me ​​up man,” Questlove wrote. “This cat was one in a million. I’ll never forget my first time at #NerdProm during O’s first term and Biz was the dj and I asked him ‘what’s the Wobble’ ——BIZ loved you have if you weren’t standing on something —— ‘AYE VAUGHN, he doesn’t know The Wobble !!!’ …. he plays it and I’ve never seen a black song transform an entire costume room – the press / White House staff / even Rachel Maddow ran behind the bar (she was serving drinks) and is descended. “

Artists like Missy Elliott also mourned Markie’s death and spoke about its impact.

“I remember so many times trying to beat box like you until my lips were sore,” Elliott wrote. “Your impact in culture is 4EVER.”

I remember so many times trying to box like you until my lips were sore😩 & every time we saw each other your energy was always so full of Life / Love / & Good Vibes💜 Your impact in the culture Is 4EVER🙌🏾 & you will NEVER be forgotten🕊💜🙏🏾 Rest king @ BizMarkie👑

Twitter: @MissyElliott

Actor Kerry Washington gave Markie’s music credit for teaching him to “let the music live in [her] body.”

“We were amazed,” Washington wrote. “He was a genius.”

When I was a teenager, we snuck out on Monday nights for the hottest party in New York City. Soul Kitchen taught me to let music live in my body. Every time we saw Biz on the 1s & 2s we were in awe. He was a genius. Rest in peace and soul @BizMarkie

Twitter: @kerrywashington

Fab 5 artist Freddy celebrated Markie’s “unique comedic hip hop genius” and shared a clip from Kool G Rap’s music video for “Erase Racism”, saying Markie’s lyrics made “smile and think how racism is stupid “.

I will miss my friend @BizMarkie and his unique hip hop comedic genius. I made this clip for @TheRealKoolGRap in ’90s, “Erase Racism” which featured @bigdaddykane & BIZ singing the chorus that makes us smile & think how stupid racism really is.


DJ Rhettmatic called Markie, quite simply, a “hero”.

It is heartbreaking. Rest in peace to the Evil One… the one & only @BizMarkie. Thank you for being our hero. I’m very lucky to have been able to meet you, DJ with you & become friends with you. We will really miss you big brother. This one hurts. #BizMarkie #TheDiabolicalOne

Twitter: @rhettmatic

“I grew up breaking your music and it was an honor to share the stage with you! A true innovator in the field of music!” wrote New Kids on the Block frontman Danny Wood.

Other hip-hop artists have also mourned Markie’s death, calling him “king” and “legend”.

👑 Biz was an amazing human being. He made millions of faces smile and was loved by all. A true legend of hip hop. We will miss him but never forget him. Authentic !!! Original !!! #ripbizmarkie 🕊🕊

Twitter: @MCHammer

Public Enemy frontman Chuck D also shared his own post in mourning for several hip-hop artists he said had passed recently, including DMX, MF Doom, Gift of Gab and now Markie.

DJ Flipout also shared a recording of a call with Markie, in which the rapper called after breaking a copy of his 45 record of “Let Me Turn You On”, and wanted to buy Flipout to replace it.

“He said he stepped on his copy, broke it and cried,” Flipout wrote. “But now I am crying. Rest in peace BIZ.”

The time @BizMarkie called me because he knew I had a copy of his 45 ‘Let Me Turn You On’ but he broke his copy and couldn’t find another one lol So he wanted to buy mine! Haha He said he stepped on his copy, broke it and cried. But now I’m crying. Rest in peace BIZ. #NBTB

Twitter: @Flipout

Fans also shared their favorite clips of Markie, including her iconic performance in Men in Black II, and some of chance encounters where Markie improvised on the spot.

My brother met @BizMarkie in a parking lot in Laurel, MD and asked him to help #SaveTheCrew. This video is the result of this meeting. Rest in peace good soul. # Crew96

Twitter: @kcrognale

Fan thanked Markie for teaching her daughter to beatbox on the show Yo Gabba Gabba.

And in a discussion thread days before Markie’s death, musician and music writer Sahan Jayasuriya asked people to send positive energy to the rapper, who he said had health issues.

Jayasuriya wrote a long thread on Markie’s contributions and said, “The world fell in love with the biz from the moment he arrived and really embraced him for the person he is because no one beats him.”