Remembering Biz Markie, the ‘Clown Prince of Hip-Hop,’ for his 58th Birthday

“I’m going to be Biz Markie until I die. Even after I die I’m going to be Biz Markie”

A jack of all trades under the umbrella of hip-hop, today we wish the multi-talented Biz Markie a happy bornday. Born on April 8, 1964, the late Harlem-born MC was also a beatboxer, comedian, singer, DJ, songwriter, producer, television personality, commercial spokesperson, but also a husband and father figure. Biz Markie is a brand immortalized through his artistic impact and larger-than-life personality, all demonstrated through his witty and playful music. On Twitter, actress Kerry Washington claims that Soul Kitchen, the NYC party that Biz DJed at, taught her how to let music live in her body. He said the origin comes from,

the first hip-hop tape I heard. It was ’77, ’78, from the L Brothers. Grand Wizard Theodore was the DJ, and the rappers was Kevvy Kev, Master Rob and Busy Bee Starski. I loved Busy Bee. Busy Bee just stuck with me. My name used to be Bizzy B Markie, and after a while I put the Biz with the Markie. My nickname in my neighborhood was Markie.

BizMarkie with Frank151 Chapter 14: Futura 2000.

His music was funky and unpredictable, and he was just as mischievous in real life, responding to a sampling lawsuit with the album All Samples Cleared! He was confident in his visions, innovative, and told tales in a tongue-in-cheek manner that popularized his hit “Just A Friend.” Biz Markie was also charismatic in the way he fostered a sense of authenticity, releasing Weekend Warrior in 2003 out of personal desire rather than making an attempt to stay relevant in a rapidly evolving culture that unconsciously maintains an ageist convention. Biz also had no problem showing his admiration for mainstream artists like Elton John and Barry Manilow. 

The Prince encapsulated his charismatic brand best through the simple statement that he is “just here to entertain and make people happy.”

And, fun fact, he was the owner of the world’s only pair of 7” Technics.

Biz Markie pictured with the Technics SL-700 model turntable custom built for 45s
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