Biz Markie (born Marcel Hall 8th April 1964 in Brooklyn, New York ; died 16 July 2021) was an American rapper best known for humorous singles like "Just a Friend".
Markie's career began in the early 1980s as a performer, then a human beatbox for MC Shan and Roxanne Shante, among others. He signed to the Cold Chillin' record label in 1988 and released Goin' Off, an underground hit. "Just a Friend" (from The Biz Never Sleeps) was released the following year, and it became a mainstream hit in the United States.
As one of hip hop's biggest stars of the time, Biz had a lot of pressure for his third album, I Need a Haircut. The album was a commercial disaster, exacerbated by a lawsuit from Gilbert O'Sullivan for sampling "Alone Again (Naturally)" in the song "Alone Again". The lawsuit, Grand Upright Music, Ltd. v. Warner Brothers Records, Inc., changed hip hop forever, as afterwards, all samples were cleared with the original artist before they could be used.
Biz continued his career in 1993, releasing All Samples Cleared!, but the record was another commercial disappointment. For the next few years, Biz worked with the Beastie Boys occasionally, began DJing and kept a low profile.
In 2002, Biz appeared in Men in Black II with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.
In 2005, Biz was featured on the VH1 television reality show, "Celebrity Fit Club", where overweight celebrities are shown attempting to lose weight.
He also made a career as a DJ, giving performances where he used his somewhat voluminous gut to move a record on a turntable and thus scratch.