Biz Markie Memorial Recap | Billboard

Billboard Music

The New York MC, born Marcel Theo Hall, died July 16 at age 57. He was hospitalized in April 2020 because of diabetes complications and reportedly suffered a stroke while in a diabetic coma last year as well.

Best known for his party anthem and Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hit “Just a Friend,” Biz was bigger than his biggest hit, according to the Reverend Al Sharpton’s eulogy. “But he was more than just a friend. He was our icon. He was more than just a friend. He was our example! He was more than just a friend! He was our star! He was more than just a friend!” said Sharpton while referencing the record’s title. “The hit record doesn’t tell you the whole story. Thank you, Biz! You never let us down! You were more than just a friend.”

Al B. Sure! also spoke about the song and how Biz originally reached out to him and fellow R&B singer Keith Sweat to sing the iconic hook. “But I believe in Marcel’s case, nobody — and I mean nobody — could have rocked the chorus like the iconic, charismatic, signature Biz Markie,” he argued during his speech.

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