Biz Markie


Marcel Theo Hall (born April 8, 1964, Savage, Maryland) better known by his stage name Biz Markie, is an American rapper, DJ, comedian, actor, reality television personality and commercial spokesperson, best known for the single "Just a Friend", an American Top 10 hit in 1989.

Biz Markie's career began in Long Island, New York in the early 1980s, where he established his reputation for beat-boxing and rapping. In 1986 Biz Markie's debut single, "Make the Music With Your Mouth, Biz", was released on Prism Records.

He released his debut album, “Goin' Off,” which attracted a fair amount of attention, largely due to the lead single, "Make the Music With Your Mouth, Biz". "The Biz Never Sleeps" his second album was released on October 10, 1989, on Cold Chillin'/Warner Bros. Records. The album proved to be a success, peaking at #66 on the Billboard 200 and #9 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, as well as producing his most famous song and biggest hit, "Just a Friend," which made it to #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on the Hot Rap Singles. The album was certified gold by the RIAA on April 24th, 1990.

His 1991 album “I Need a Haircut” had low sales 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., 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.

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, he occasionally made television appearances, including a guest role on the recurring In Living Color sketch "The Dirty Dozens" and 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 "Willenium."

Biz does a 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" On November 9th, 2010, Biz appeared on The Aquabats! new EP, “Radio Down!” on the title track.

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