The hip-hop community has lost another great this year, as rapper and producer Biz Markie died last Friday at the age of 57.
Dubbed “The Clown Prince of Hip-Hop,” Markie was best known for infusing humor and fun into his music, making audiences and fans laugh with witty lines and creative sounds.
His manager, Jenni Izumi, confirmed the death and released a statement: “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.”
The singer-songwriter has struggled with Type 2 diabetes for more than a decade, getting diagnosed in 2011 and even losing 140 pounds in an effort to push past his illness.
“I wanted to live,” he told ABC News in a 2014 interview. “Since I have to be a diabetic, if I didn’t make the changes, it was going to make the diabetes worse. I’m trying to get off [the Diabetes meds]. The way you gotta do it is lose the weight. I’m off half my meds, I just got to get off the rest.”
Born as Marcel Hall in Harlem, New York, the artist broke into the 80s hip-hop scene with his unique beatboxing and rhyming skills. He gained traction for his certified platinum 1989 single, “Just a Friend.”
The song was enough to cement Markie’s place in pop culture; it reached No. 9 on Billboard charts and was nominated for an MTV Music Award for best music video.
All in all, Markie released five full length albums and even had acting stints in Men in Black II and Yo Gabba Gabba!
His legacy had a full impact on the hip-hop community, with many stars coming out to offer their condolences.
“Rest in power Biz…I love you bro,” fellow rapper LL Cool J posted on Instagram.
“This cat was one in a million,” musician Questlove said in a post. “He taught me A LOT. I’m using ALL the education he taught me. We will miss him. But he will be here forever. Love you Biz.”