Photo credits: David Corio/The Redferns Archives/Getty Images
One of hip-hop culture and rap music’s most legendary figures has passed away at the age of 57-years-old.
According to HipHopDX, the wife of Biz Markie (pictured) announced Friday (July 16) that the hip-hop pioneer died at a hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Tamara Hall, Biz Markie’s wife, said that she “was with him when he passed and held his hand until he took his last breath,” HipHopDX reports.
Biz Markie (born Marcel Theo Hall) has been the subject of a number of recent death reports, which were found to be false.
“Sadly, this time, it’s true, a family spokesperson for Biz Markie said.
For the past year, the “Just a Friend” mega hitmaker has been struggling with his health due to severe complications from Type II diabetes. Since July 2020, numerous reports have surfaced about Biz Markie suffering from a diabetic coma, being hospitalized, and living in hospice care.
However, final reports, which have been authenticated by Mrs. Hall and Biz Markie’s family representatives, have confirmed the iconic musician’s passing. Markie’s death has left many of his hip-hop and rap fans, peers, predecessors, and beneficiaries in a state of mourning due to his longtime influence on the music genre’s culture.
The solo entertainment and music career of Harlem, New York native Biz Markie took off in the mid-1980s when he was just in his early 20s. Prior to that, the talented performer was a member of a legendary group of trendsetters called the Juice Crew. He was also an associated collaborator who represented the Flip Squad.
Biz Markie’s stage name was inspired by one of his first musical influencers early on. He was a staple of several major rap music labels (Tommy Boy and Cold Chillin’) during the hip-hop culture’s “Golden Age.”
“Grand Wizard Theodore was the DJ, and the rappers was Kevvy Kev, Master Rob, and Busy Bee Starski. I loved Busy Bee. Busy Bee just stuck with me. My name used to be Bizzy B Markie, and after a while, I put the Biz with the Markie. My nickname in my neighborhood was Markie,” he continued.
During that same interview, Markie spoke the truth about rap and hip-hop fame, suggesting that it “comes and goes like the McRib sandwich from McDonald’s.” Nonetheless, in Biz Markie’s case, the rapper, DJ, writer, performer, producer, and public speaker still maintained the status of a multi-millionaire.
When Manteuffel told Markie during the Post interview that a web-based media source estimated his net worth to be $3 million, New York City’s own claimed to have a higher amount of personal fortune–not out of arrogance but out of real self-worth in true Harlem fashion.
Biz Markie went from being a local performer in NYC nightclubs, to regionally known at college performing arts centers, to being known worldwide by way of his successful capitalizing off the commercialization spawned by hip-hop culture. In 1993, he appeared on the cover of Source Magazine, the dream of every other hot rapper, at that time.
A true hip-hop purist would tell you that on his in-demand popularity and sphere of influence alone, you could put Markie toe-to-toe with any of the ground-breaking rap acts who ruled the 1980s and 1990s. WorthPoint said his 1993 cover story for the Source is a “piece of hip-hop history,” which is why the issue that featured the story has a high price tag.
However, beyond the money and fame, Biz Markie showed that rap can be fun, have substance, and be positively appealing to anyone. His lifetime achievements have expanded throughout the decades and the contributions he made to hip-hop’s cultural community are well-documented.
The Black Then History Network extends its condolences to Biz Markie’s wife Tamara and the families throughout their times of grieving.