Biz Markie, the rapper whose classic Just A Friend was a major hit in 1989 and has since been sampled in countless songs and videos, has died. He passed in a Baltimore hospital from complications of diabetes. He was 57.
TMZ broke the story of his death, but weeks before, a flurry of reports prematurely told of his death. That was dispelled by his manager, but it was acknowledged that he had been in ill health for some time.
A statement from his representatives confirmed the death. “We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support that we have received during this difficult time. 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.
Born in Harlem, NY in 1964 as Marcel Theo Hall, he adopted the stage name Biz Markie and began his career in New York City nightclubs, expanding to colleges.
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During his career, he worked as a rapper, singer, DJ, record producer, actor, comedian, and writer. His debut album, Goin’ Off, came out in 1988, led by the single, Make the Music with Your Mouth, Biz.
His second studio album followed in 1989. The Biz Never Sleeps, featured Just A Friend, a lament on woman problems which featured him rapping and singing. It rose to No. 9 on the billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
The post Biz Markie Dies: ‘Just A Friend’ Rapper And Actor Was 57 appeared first on Deadline.