Biz Markie, the most fun man in Hip-Hop passed away earlier this week at age 57. Born Theo Marcel Hall, the native New Yorker is remembered for his rapping, beatboxing, and acting chops.
Best known for his hit song ‘Just a Friend,’ Hall let his upbeat attitude, goofy demeanour, and intoxicating energy shine through in his music. The ‘Clown Prince of Hip Hop’, Biz Markie was the universally loved class clown of hip-hop throughout the 90s.
Before his career took off in the 80s, the Rapper/DJ was known for his beatboxing and free styling skills, talents that were apparent in the music he made later on. Forever a jokester, he was known as the Court Jester of Queensbridge collective Juice Crew.
He released his debut album “Goin’ Off” in 1988 and right off the bat, his personality was apparent to anyone who would listen. Jovial, fun, and hilariously immature, the clear differences between him and everyone else in the rap game. The fact that a song titled “Pickin’ Boogers” is as charming as it is can be nothing but a compliment to the genuine nature of his style.
His 1989 hit single “Just a Friend” was the chart-topper that broke Biz into the big time. Over a sample of “(You) Got What I Need” by Freddie Scott, Biz Markie’s comically bad singing became an anthem of a generation of hip-hop fans.
Described as “something concocted after a day of romantic disappointment and a night of heavy drinking,” the chorus, and more than anything else, Markie’s erratic singing became iconic overnight. “I know what I did in Hip-hop,” said Biz Markie about his impact on the genre.
That impact can still be felt today, as his vocal performance on that chorus has become less and less of a novelty, and more of an artistic decision. “The Father of bad singing” breathed personality and life into a genre that molded him as a person.
“I’m going to be Biz Markie until I die.”
Sources: NYTIMES.COM, CBC.CA, ROLLINGSTONE.COM, PAGESIX.COM