Biz Markie is laid to rest: Ice-T, Fat Joe and Rev. Al Sharpton celebrate the life of ‘Just a Friend’ rapper at Long Island funeral after he passed away last month from diabetes complications aged 57
- A funeral for rapper Biz Markie was held on Monday after the hip-hop personality known for his 1989 hit ‘Just a Friend’ died in July
- Fans gathered outside the Patchogue Theatre on Long Island in New York during the service for the pioneering beatboxer whose was born Marcel Theo Hall who was born in Harlem and raised in Patchogue
- Police put up barricades to hold crowds on the sidewalks and kept the street in front of the theater clear
- A private viewing for the family was held before a live-streamed service
- ‘May his legacy live on,’ civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton said on Twitter. Sharpton also gave a eulogy
- Hip-hop performers LL Cool J, Fat Joe and Big Daddy Kane also attended the service
- Markie died on July 16 aged 57 of complications from diabetes
With laughter and tears, songs and stories, friends and family of Biz Markie celebrated his life and legacy at a funeral Monday, remembering the rapper as larger than life and full of love.
‘He cared for people, he had a way of making us laugh through our pain,’ said Rev. Al Sharpton in his eulogy at the Patchogue Theatre on Long Island, where Biz Markie’s black coffin was placed center stage, an arrangement of white flowers on top.
‘He’d come in a room and his presence didn’t have to be announced, it was felt,’ Sharpton said as he delivered the eulogy for the late musical artist, whose real name was Marcel Theo Hall, at the celebration of life service.
‘Everybody in this room is here because Biz earned our attendance, because he was always there for us,’ Sharpton said. ‘He was our star. He was more than just a friend. 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.’
Celebrities including Ice-T, Busta Rhymes, Al B. Sure!, Fat Joe, Montell Jordan, Grand Puba and Kid Capri, among others, were on hand for the ceremony.
Funeral services inside the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, in Patchogue, Long Island, New York, for Rapper, Biz Markie
An artist paints an image of Biz Markie during funeral services inside the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, in Patchogue, Long Island
The casket of late rapper Marcel Theo Hall, known by his stage name Biz Markie, is seen during his funeral service
The rapper Biz Markie, who rose to fame with the one-hit wonder Just A Friend, died last month Friday at age 57 from complications related to his type 2 diabetes. He is pictured in 2018
Rapper-actor Ice-T was seen inside the venue for the memorial service on Monday
Lorena Cartagena (L) and Fat Joe attend the celebration of life for Biz Markie at Patchogue Theatre
Rev. Al Sharpton (R) attends the celebration of life for Biz Markie at Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts on Monday
Markie, known for the 1989 classic ‘Just a Friend,’ died last month at the age of 57. His death brought a stream of tributes from his musical contemporaries and those who were simply fans.
Among those who attended the funeral were Ice-T and Fat Joe, as well as Montell Jordan and Al B. Sure.
Markie, born Marcel Theo Hall, was known for his lighthearted ways, and was the self-proclaimed ‘Clown Prince of Hip-Hop.’
‘The thing I’m going to miss the most about him was every time he would see me, his face would just light up with that Chiclet, toothy smile,’ said his widow, Tara Hall as she paid tribute to her husband.
‘He made me laugh every day,’ she said. ‘That is not hyperbole. That is a fact.’
His cousin DJ Cool V at the ceremony called him ‘the most unique individual I’ve met in my life,’ adding, ‘You never forget him. You meet him one time, you never forget him.’
Rapper Busy Bee told said that ‘Biz was an icon’ in his field and ‘is what we call hip-hop.’
‘He was peace, love, unity and having fun. That was Biz. Remember, Biz didn’t get killed, he didn’t die in some tragedy.’
The late rapper was laid out in a suit made by Harlem-based designer Dapper Dan.
A New York native, Markie began his music career in 1985 and became known in the mainstream in 1989 with the platinum-selling song ‘Just a Friend,’ which made VH1´s list of 100 greatest hip-hop songs of all time.
A casket holding body of Rapper, Biz Markie is carried outside the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, in Patchogue, Long Island, New York, after funeral services for Markie
A police motorcade passes in front of the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts as respects are paid to Rapper, Biz Markie
Reverend Al Sharpton, outside the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts after giving the eulogy at the funeral service
Fans of Biz Markie play his music and dance outside the Patchogue Theatre
A casket holding Biz Markie is paraded through the streets of Patchogue following a funeral service
Rapper, BusyBee is outside the Patchogue Theatre paying his respects
Rapper, Grand Puba, was also in attendance at the funeral service on Monday
Rapper, Kid Capri, also showed up for his fellow rapper’s memorial service
Rapper, BusyBee is seen outsider the Patchogue Theatre where the service took place
Montell Jordan is seen outside of the theater where the funeral service was held
Markie had his greatest success in 1989 with the release of Just A Friend, which featured a prominent melody interpolated from Freddie Scott’s You Got What I Need.
The piano melody gave the song a pop-music feel that departed from other popular hip-hop songs of the era, and Markie’s ragged vocals added a charming, light-hearted touch to the tune.
The song peaked in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and its humorous video, which included a section with him dressed as Mozart in a powdered wig at a piano, helped it become a lasting track.
Markie was among several rappers who were hit by lawsuits in the early 1990s for using samples in their songs without permission.
Throughout the 1980s, many artists created hip-hop and rap songs that were filled with dense layers of samples, in contrast to contemporary rap songs where most artists use just a few samples that have been approved and paid for.
After releasing his third album, 1991’s I Need A Haircut, Markie was sued by singer–songwriter Gilbert O’Sullivan for sampling his song Alone Again (Naturally) on Markie’s track Alone Again.
A judge hearing the case ruled in favor of O’Sullivan and escalated the lawsuit by referring it to criminal court.
People wait outside Patchogue Theatre during the funeral for late rapper Marcel Theo Hall aka Biz Markie
Plenty of people gathered outside to pay their respects and to look at the other famous rappers who were in attendance
People are pictured waiting outside the funeral service before being allowed in to the theater
Ice-T is pictured walking into the theatre on Monday in Suffolk County Long Island
Rapper Fat Joe and wife Lorena Cartagena held hands as they walked to the theater
A mural is seen inside the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts, in Patchogue, Long Island during the funeral service for Rapper, Biz Markie
A Playbill featuring the Final Show for Rapper, Biz Markie was given to all those who attended
The hearse of late rapper Marcel Theo Hall, known by his stage name Biz Markie, departs at the end of his funeral service
A man stands guard next to the casket for late rapper Marcel Theo Hall, known by his stage name Biz Markie
A view from inside the theater that played host to Biz Markie’s funeral service on Monday
Rev. Al Sharpton (L) and the entertainer’s widow Tara Hall attended a private ceremony before the celebration of life for Biz Markie at the theater
Rev. Al Sharpton (R) speaks with DJ Boof onstage during the celebration of life for Biz Markie at Patchogue Theatre
No charges were ever brought against Markie or others involved in creating the song, though it would affect his career going forward.
That same year, the hip-hop group De La Soul was also sued for using uncleared samples by members of The Turtles, effectively ending the era of rampant sampling.
Markie managed to laugh about the setback two years later when he released his fourth album, titled All Samples Cleared.
Markie was born in Harlem as Marcel Theo Hall on April 8, 1964, though he was raised on Long Island.
The musician got his start playing at small clubs around New York in the early 1980s, before building his cult following with concerts throughout the northeast.
One of his most influential early tracks was Make The Music With Your Mouth, Biz, a track on his 1988 debut LP Goin’ Off.
The song showcased his human beatbox skills along with his rapping, and Markie would continue to beatbox on other artists songs in the future.
Attendees carry the casket of late rapper Marcel Theo Hall, known by his stage name Biz Markie, at the end of his funeral service
New York Police Officers get ready to escort the hearse of late rapper Marcel Theo Hall
New York Police Officers escort the hearse of late rapper through the town to a nearby cemetary
The hearse of late rapper Marcel Theo Hall, known by his stage name Biz Markie, departs at the end of his funeral service in Patchogue
The hearse of late rapper Marcel Theo Hall, known by his stage name Biz Markie, (L) departs at the end of his funeral servic
Following his sampling controversy, the rapper’s career entered a fallow period in which he mostly made guest appearances and turned to modest film and TV roles until returning with his final studio album, 2003’s Weekend Warrior.
He would go on to make multiple appearances with the Beastie Boys, who were open about their admiration of him.
Markie appeared on the sketch comedy series In Living Color in 1994 and was an announcer on the Comedy Central series Crank Yankers, in which real prank phone calls made by actors and comedians were acted out by puppets.
His most recognizable film role was probably 2002’s Men In Black II, in which he played an alien being who communicated in a language that sounded exactly like his beatboxing.
Markie would also be featured as a voice actor in animated shows including SpongeBob SquarePants and Adventure Time, and he had cameo appearances on Fox’s Empire and ABC’s Black-ish.
Legend: ‘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,’ his representative said last month
Markie had his greatest success in 1989 with the release of Just A Friend, which featured a prominent melody interpolated from Freddie Scott’s You Got What I Need; seen in 1988
Rising star: Markie was born in Harlem as Marcel Theo Hall on April 8, 1964, though he was raised on Long Island. He got his start in NYC clubs before expanding with shows throughout the northeast; seen in 2012 in NYC
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