American rapper Biz Markie dies at 57

American rapper, DJ and producer Biz Markie, who rose to fame with the 1989 hit “Just a Friend,” died at age 57 on Friday, his representatives said.

He was killed with his wife by Jenni Izumi of Biz Markie Inc., he told AFP in a statement.

“Biz created a legacy of art that will always be celebrated by his industry peers and his beloved fans whose lives he was able to touch through music, spanning more than 35 years,” the statement said.

No cause of death was given for the rapper, whose real name was Marcel Hall, but he had experienced health problems in recent years related to type 2 diabetes, media reports said.

Known for songs that often have funny lyrics, such as “Pickin ‘Boogers” from his 1988 debut album “Goin’ Off,” “Let Go My Eggo” and “Chinese Food,” New York-born Biz Markie earned the nickname “Clown Prince of hip-hop”.

“Just a Friend”, with his catchy key, hit No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and later was added to VH1’s chart of the 100 Greatest Hip-Hop Songs.

His death drew a great deal of tribute.

Fellow rapper Q-Tip, whose former group A Tribe Called Quest was at the forefront of artistic hip-hop in the 1980s and 1990s; He tweeted: “This one hurts a lot … I’m going to miss you so many memories.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted his condolences and said: “Biz Markie took a turn on hip hop and brought that New York sense of humor to audiences around the world.

”We ‘are mourning a true Harlem son tonight. “

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Having started out as a beatboxer in his teens, he reportedly later showed off his prodigious and pioneering ability in a memorable cameo as a beatboxing alien in the movie “Men In Black II,” starring Will Smith.

He has also appeared on the small screen in recent years, as himself on popular television shows “black-ish” and “Empire” and lending his voice to the cartoon Sponge Bob, as well as being a recurring guest on the children’s show “Yo Gabba. Gabba! ”

More recently, he was known for being a DJ, posting about appearances regularly on Twitter, including several new rap stars like Cordae.

The posts stopped being published in mid-2020, when he was reportedly hospitalized.

His fame spread far beyond the United States, where he was once a DJ at the White House Correspondents Dinner – taking him to renowned venues around the world, including the Bataclan in Paris.

Roots drummer Questlove said: “Biz built me ​​a man.” Brief news.

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