The legendary ” Just A Friend ” Rap Artist Biz Markie passed away Friday, his manager Jenni Izumi confirmed to USA TODAY in a statement. 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. We are grateful for the many calls and prayers of support that we have received during this difficult time,” read the 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.
Known in the music industry as the “Clown Prince of Hip-Hop,” Markie kickstarted his career on the New York club scene in the 1980s and performed at colleges in the Mid-Atlantic. His rap moniker, he explained to the Washington Post in 2019, was shortened from Bizzy B Markie and an extension of his neighborhood nickname, Markie.
He crafted the enduring “Just a Friend,” with its memorably simplistic piano melody, from Freddie Scott’s 1968 song, “(You) Got What I Need.” In 2019, the 30th anniversary of the hit, Markie told Entertainment Weekly that the plainspoken lyrics tell an age-old story rooted in reality.