It’s been a year now since we lost The ‘Clown Prince of Hip Hop’, Biz Markie. He passed away on July 16, 2021 at 57 years old.
“Biz created a legacy of artistry that will forever be celebrated by his industry peers and his beloved fans whose lives he was able to touch through music, spanning over 35 years. He leaves behind a wife, many family members and close friends who will miss his vibrant personality, constant jokes and frequent banter.” – Jenni Izumi (Biz Markie’s Representative)
Hip Hop’s ‘Golden Age’ was full of incredible MCs and DJs, but Biz Markie was not only a skilled MC he was also a skilled beat-boxer. This allowed him to be both a DJ and MC. He had a unique style of beat-boxing and rapping but what also made Biz stand out was what he would rap about. Have you ever heard someone tell you “Don’t take yourself too seriously?” We feel he was a great example of someone who was very skilled at what they did but had a little bit of humor in everything they do. Biz had previously said he used to be the “Class-Clown” but never really meant to be, that he was funny without trying. This, later on, was also showcased in his records. In 2022, he said in an interview with The Miami Hurricane “I don’t mean to be funny on records, it just comes out that way.”
Let’s take a look at Biz Markie’s career throughout the years:
Biz Markie released his debut album ‘Goin’ Off’ on February 23, 1988.
The album was released on Cold Chillin’ Records, produced by Marley Marl and Big Daddy Kane wrote the lyrics of the album’s first five songs. This album included tracks such as “Vapors” and the song that would showcase Biz’s beatboxing skill “Make the Music with Your Mouth, Biz”.
Biz Markie released his second studio album ” The Biz Never Sleeps” on October 10, 1989. The album was released on Cold Chillin’/Warner Bros. Records, produced by Markie, his cousin Cool V and Paul C.
This album had his most successful song “Just A Friend“. The song reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and later, in 2008, was on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop. The song tells the story of Markie meeting a woman who has another man in her life that she says is “Just a Friend”. Smh. He switches between rapping and singing a hook that interpolates a 1968 song “You Got What I Need” by Freddie Scott. Biz Markie teaches a lesson in this song: “Don’t ever talk to a girl who says she just has a friend.”
On August 27, 1991, Markie released his third studio album “I Need a Haircut“. This album was to change the landscape of hip hop after a lawsuit was filed against him for using an uncleared sample in the song “Alone Again”. They had to then pull the album off the shelves. This ruling then put in place that all samples must be cleared with the original artist before being used. But this is about remembering and celebrating Biz, so onto more positive things!
After this, in the 90s he continued his career with TV appearances and appearances on other hip-hop albums:
Biz appeared on several Beastie Boys albums including “Check Your Head”, “Ill Communication”, “Hello Nasty”, and the anthology “The Sounds of Science”.
Photo Credit: Instagram @beastieboysstory
He rapped on several other tracks with different hip-hop artists such as Will Smith, Slick Rick and more.
Will Smith “So Fresh” Music Video
He was also part of a project to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic among Black men called “America Is Dying Slowly” – a compilation CD that also featured The Wu-Tang Clan, Fat Joe, Coolio and more.
In 2002, Biz Markie made an appearance in the movie “Men in Black” playing an alien that’s language is his beatboxing:
In 2010, Markie made several television appearances including being a guest star on Spongebob Squarepants as “Kenny The Cat”:
In 2013, Biz even toured with the children’s show Yo Gabba Gabba Live!:
Photo Credit: Neilson Barnard/WireImage for S2BN
After Biz passed away many news outlets reported on his passing including NPR:
On-Air Personality, Sugabear, reflected on how Biz Markie made an impact on him personally and told us his favorite song by the ‘Clown Prince of Hip Hop’:
Biz Markie was a huge part of my “beatboxing” days in High School. At the time, he was one of the few that could create rhythmic sounds with his mouth. Known as “The Human Ox Box”, I would try to emulate the sounds of Biz Markie with my friends, beatbox and rap during lunch hour, and enter talent shows. Those were some of the best days ever. I later met him in Cancun when he was DJing an event for a huge crowd. He was the nicest guy! RIP to a legend. Favorite Song: Vapors
Here’s a few more videos that showcase what a legendary artist Biz Markie was:
R.I.P to the legend, Biz Markie!
Homepage/Featured Photo: Neilson Barnard/WireImage
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