Biz Markie, Rap Legend Known for 'Just a Friend' and 'Vapors,' Dies at 57

“Biz created a legacy of artistry that will forever be celebrated,” his family says


Biz Markie, the legendary rap pioneer known as “the clown prince of hip hop” and for his 1989 hit single “Just a Friend,” died Wednesday night. He was 57.

“It is with profound sadness that we announce, this evening, with his wife Tara by his side, Hip Hop pioneer Biz Markie peacefully passed away,” the rapper’s family said in a statement. “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. We respectfully request privacy for his family as they mourn their loved one.”

His cause of death has not been made public, but the rapper, also known for cult hits like “The Vapors” and for numerous collaborations with other musicians, had been battling diabetes in recent years and had been hospitalized with complications from the illness in April 2020.

Born Marcel Theo Hall in 1964 in Manhattan, Biz Markie began rapping in the early 1980s and released his debut album, “Goin’ Off,” in 1988. The record featured the classic underground rap hits “Nobody Beats The Biz”, “Vapors”, and “Pickin’ Boogers” and established Markie’s comedic chops that led to his popular nickname.

Watch the video for his classic 1988 single “Vapors,” below:

More to come…

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