Biz Markie, Bombastic Rapper Behind ‘Just a Friend,’ Dies at 57

Biz Markie, Bombastic Rapper Behind ‘Just a Friend,’ Dies at 57

In 1988, Markie released his debut album, Goin’ Off, which peaked at No. 90 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and included his first Billboard hit, with “Make the Music With Your Mouth” peaking at No. 84 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in 1987.

But Markie’s big breakthrough to the mainstream came with his sophomore album, 1989’s The Biz Never Sleeps, which included his one-and-only Hot 100 entry: “Just a Friend.”

His signature hit reached No. 5 on the Hot Rap Songs chart in December 1989 and then crossed over the next year, reaching its No. 9 peak in March 1990. The single’s success helped its parent album, The Biz Never Sleeps, crack the top 10 of the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, where it achieved a No. 9 best in late 1989.

After “Just a Friend,” Biz Markie landed three more top 10s on Hot Rap Songs: “What Comes Around Goes Around” (No. 4 in 1991), “Let Me Turn You On” (No. 7, 1993) and “Young Girl Bluez” (No. 4, 1993).

“Just a Friend” interpolates Freddie Scott’s 1968 song “(You) Got What I Need” and also inspired yet another song, Mario’s “Just a Friend 2002,” which reached No. 4 on the Hot 100 in 2002.

I Need a Haircut, released in 1991, was Biz’s third and final album to hit the Billboard 200 albums chart, following Goin’ Off and The Biz Never Sleeps.

In addition to music, Markie also acted in movies and television, becoming a fixture on the children’s TV series Yo Gabba Gabba! with his “Biz’s Beat of the Day” beatboxing segment.