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Marcel Theo Hall (born April 8, 1964),[1] better known by his stage name Biz Markie, is an American rapper, beatboxer, DJ, comedian, singer, reality television personality, and commercial spokesperson. He is best known for his single "Just a Friend", an American Top 10 hit in 1989. In 2008, "Just a Friend" made #100 on VH1's list of the 100 greatest hip hop songs of all time. Biz Markie currently lives in Howard County, Maryland and has helped support County Executive Ken Ulman during his fundraisers. [2]

Markie has been called "the Clown Prince of Hip Hop."[3][4]


Early life

Markie was born in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey[5] and his career began on Long Island, New York[6] in the early 1980s, where he established his reputation for beat-boxing and rapping. MC Shan and Roxanne Shante were part of Marley Marl's Cold Chillin' Records, and Biz beatboxed on Shante's underground hit "Def Fresh Crew" (1986). This lent credibility to his recording career and put Cold Chillin' on the map. In the same year, Biz Markie's debut single, "Make the Music With Your Mouth, Biz", was released on Prism Records.



Markie released his debut album, Goin' Off in 1988, which attracted a fair amount of attention, largely due to the lead single, "Make the Music With Your Mouth, Biz". The album also featured the underground hit singles "Nobody Beats The Biz", "The Vapors" and "Pickin' Boogers".[7]

On October 10, 1989 The Biz Never Sleeps, Biz Markie's second studio album, was released on Cold Chillin'/Warner Bros. Records, produced by Biz, his cousin Cool V and Paul C. The single "Just a Friend", in which he alternates between rap and singing, became Markie's most successful single, reaching #9 on the Billboard charts.

The song interpolates the 1968 song "You Got What I Need" by singer/songwriter Freddie Scott, whose basic chord and melody provided the base for the song's chorus. "Just A Friend" was ranked 81st on VH1's 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders in 2000, and later as number 100 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop in 2008.

The music video, directed by Lionel C. Martin, chronicles the rapper/singer's woman problems. At the climax of the video, Biz Markie's character stumbles upon a girl he was trying to date - not his girlfriend - kissing another man she had previously referred to as "just a friend". It also includes a memorable scene of Biz singing the chorus dressed as Mozart in 18th-century clothing with a powdered wig in a candlelit room while playing the piano. This scene was likely inspired by the video for the 1986 hit "Rock Me Amadeus", which was in turn inspired by the 1984 film Amadeus.


Markie's third studio album I Need a Haircut was released on August 27, 1991, on Cold Chillin'/Warner Bros. Records and was produced by Biz Markie and his cousin Cool V. Sales of the album were already low when Markie was served a lawsuit by Gilbert O'Sullivan, who claimed that the album's Alone Again featured an unauthorized sample from his hit "Alone Again (Naturally)". O'Sullivan's claim was upheld in a landmark ruling, Grand Upright Music, Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Records, Inc.,[8] that altered the landscape of hip-hop, finding that all samples must be cleared with the original artist before being used. In accordance with the ruling, Warner Bros., the parent company of Cold Chillin', had to pull I Need a Haircut from circulation, and all companies had to clear samples with the samples' creators before releasing the records. This development reflected the increasing popularity of hip-hop and the financial stakes over which releases were set. Biz responded in 1993 with the mischievously titled All Samples Cleared!, but his career had been hurt by the publicity emanating from the lawsuit, and the record suffered accordingly.

For the remainder of the decade, Markie occasionally made television appearances, including guest appearances on In Living Color (including as contestant Damian "Foosball" Franklin in the recurring game show sketch "The Dirty Dozens" and as Marlon Cain in "Ed Bacon: Guidance Counselor") and in a 1996 freestyle rap commercial on MTV2. He also made numerous guest appearances with the Beastie Boys, "Check Your Head" (1992), "Ill Communication" (1994), "Hello Nasty" (1998), and their anthology The Sounds of Science (1999). He also rapped on the song "Schizo Jam", on Don Byron's 1998 release, "Nu Blaxploitation" (Blue Note/Capitol) and worked with Canibus on the first track on the Office Space soundtrack (1999). He also rapped on the track "So Fresh" alongside Slick Rick on Will Smith's 1999 album "Willennium".

In 1996, Markie appeared on the Red Hot Organization's compilation CD, America is Dying Slowly, alongside Wu-Tang Clan, Coolio, and Fat Joe, among others. The CD, meant to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic among African American men, was heralded as a masterpiece by The Source magazine.

In 1997, Markie appeared on the Rolling Stones' song Anybody Seen My Baby? on their album Bridges to Babylon. His part was shortened on some radio versions. Biz also team up with Frankie Cutlass on his third single and music video title "The Cypher Part 3" with some of Marley Marl Juice Crew veterans.

In 1999, Markie appeared on Len's song Beautiful Day on their album You Can't Stop the Bum Rush.


In 2002, Markie appeared as an alien in Men in Black II with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, essentially playing an alien parody of himself, whose native language sounded exactly like beatboxing. Between 2002 and 2003 he appeared in episode 5 of the TV series Fastlane playing himself as a nightclub DJ. In 2003 he appeared in the international television series titled Kung Faux performing a series of voice over characters featured in a variety of episodes. In 2004, his song The Vapors appeared on the soundtrack of Rockstar's popular videogame Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas which featured an old school hip hop radio station, Playback FM. In 2005, Biz detoured from his recording duties to appear on the first season of the television show Celebrity Fit Club which challenged celebrities to lose weight by a combination of diet and exercise. Biz Markie lost more weight than anybody else in the competition. That year, he was also in an episode of The Andy Milonakis Show.

Biz Markie was a cast member on Nick Cannon's Wild 'n Out, seasons 1 and 3. Biz also does the beatboxing segment, Biz's Beat of the Day on the Nick Jr. show Yo Gabba Gabba!.

Biz Markie began 2008 opening for Chris Rock's "No Apologies" tour. Biz Markie's act includes spinning records ranging from old school hip hop to Lynyrd Skynyrd and then performing "Just a Friend".[9] Biz Markie's playlist includes the following: "Children's Story" by Slick Rick, "Rapper's Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang, "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson, "Holiday" by Madonna, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham!, "It Takes Two" by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock, "The Breaks" by Kurtis Blow and "Robot Rock" by Daft Punk.

In December 2009, Biz Markie appeared in a RadioShack commercial, repeating the line: "Oh Snap! Guess what I saw!" from his song "Just A Friend".[10] That same year saw his debut with Andy Milonakis in television commercials for the commercial Internet service, Tune Up.[11]


In 2010, Biz Markie appeared on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, providing commentary throughout the series. Biz Markie himself was not included on the list. On November 9, 2010, Biz appeared on The Aquabats! new EP, Radio Down! in the title track. On November 11, 2010, Biz sat in with The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and performed "Just a Friend" with actor Jeff Goldblum.[12]

Markie also appeared in the Adventure Time season two episode Slow Love,[13] which aired on November 15, 2010.

In 2012, Markie appeared several times on MTV2's new game show Hip Hop Squares, a spin-off of the popular game show Hollywood Squares.

In 2013 Markie is on tour with the Yo Gabba Gabba live show.

In August of 2013, Markie's single "Just A Friend" appears in Saint's Row IV where it appears in The Mix, Pierce's "Loyalty Mission" (where it is ruined by Zinyak, the main antagonist in the game) and in the credits, where the cast begins singing it, including Michael Clarke Duncan, who finishes the sing-along off with a laugh.

He appeared in the CN show MAD as the Hip Hop Hobbit.

He also voiced rapper Rhymez and his Dj, Tiny Timmy Scratch It on Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja episode "Hip Hopocalypse Now".


Studio albums



Year Single Chart Album
U.S. Hot 100 U.S. R&B U.S. Rap
1987 "Make the Music with Your Mouth" 84 12 2 Goin' Off
1988 "Vapors" 37 7 4
1989 "Just a Friend" 9 2 1 The Biz Never Sleeps
1991 "What Comes Around Goes Around" 5 4 4 I Need a Haircut
1993 "Let Me Turn You On" 7 2 2 All Samples Cleared!
1993 "Young Girl Bluez" 4 1 1


  1. Jump up ^ "Biz Markie: Biography". All Music. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  2. Jump up ^ McPherson, Lindsey (2012-05-01). "Howard County Political Notebook: 'Just a Friend' rapper Biz Markie to headline Ulman fundraiser". Retrieved 2012-12-16.
  3. Jump up ^ "Biz Markie, the clown prince of hip-hop, found a home at Yo! MTV Raps. | MTV Photo Gallery". Retrieved 2011-09-12.
  4. Jump up ^ [1]
  5. Jump up ^ Loughlin, Sean. "Rakim, Biz Markie, Special Ed, Slick Rick make way to House of Blues Friday", Atlantic City Insiders, August 20, 2012. Accessed September 21, 2013. "Born in Egg Harbor Township and raised in Long Island, N.Y., Biz Markie exploded in 1989 with the hit single 'Just a Friend.'"
  6. Jump up ^ "Bio". Bizmarkie. Retrieved 2011-09-12.
  7. Jump up ^ Morris, Mary. Biz Markie. Remix. February 1, 2004. URL retrieved on January 9, 2007.
  8. Jump up ^ Grand Upright Music, Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Records, Inc., 780 F. Supp. 182 (S.D.N.Y. 1991)
  9. Jump up ^ Barnes, Steve (December 31, 2007) "Chris Rock sharper than ever", Times Union
  10. Jump up ^ Biz Markie Radio Shack Commercial[dead link]
  11. Jump up ^ ""TuneUp Ads feat. Biz Markie & Andy Milonakis"; Tune Up; December 11, 2009". 2009-12-11. Retrieved 2011-09-12.
  12. Jump up ^ Sara Schaefer. "Performance with Jeff Goldblum on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon". Retrieved 2011-09-12.
  13. Jump up ^ List of Adventure Time episodes#Season 2: 2010 - present
  14. Jump up ^ [2][dead link]

External links

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