17 July 2021

Rapper Biz Markie, whose 'Just a Friend' became a '90s staple, dies at 57.

Biz Markie, who fortified the humor-and-hijinks school of hip-hop by taking it worldwide with his 1989 hit "Just a Friend," died Friday 16 July 2021 at the age of 57.

Markie, whose real name was Marcel Theo Hall, spent his early years in Harlem but moved to Long Island, and by the time he was a teen, he was rapping and beat-boxing, a way of making percussive sounds through vocal and breath work.

He adopted his emcee name because, he said, he admired pioneering rapper Busy Bee Starski, and initially called himself Bizzy B Markie, using his nickname, Markie.

He later shortened the name and made his 1985 hip-hop debut as a beat-boxer for Roxanne Shante of the Juice Crew, already big names in the emerging rap world.

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