Hip-Hop

Biz Markie Mourned by Al Sharpton & More at NYC Memorial Service: 'He Was More Than Just a Friend'

Biz Markie
David Corio/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Biz Markie photographed in London on April 6, 1988.

Busta Rhymes, Ice-T, Fat Joe and more honored the late hip-hop legend Biz Markie during a memorial service on Monday (Aug. 2).

The private service was held at Patchogue Theater for the Performing Arts in Long Island, New York, to remember their dear friend and hip-hop icon.

"Biz was an icon. He is what we call hip-hop," said rapper Busy Bee (according to Page Six), whose stage name served as the inspiration for Biz Markie's own moniker. "He was peace, love, unity and having fun. That was Biz."

The New York MC, born Marcel Theo Hall, died July 16 at age 57. He was hospitalized in April 2020 because of diabetes complications and reportedly suffered a stroke while in a diabetic coma last year as well.

Best known for his party anthem and Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hit "Just a Friend," Biz was bigger than his biggest hit, according to the Reverend Al Sharpton's eulogy. "But he was more than just a friend. He was our icon. He was more than just a friend. He was our example! He was more than just a friend! He was our star! He was more than just a friend!" said Sharpton while referencing the record's title. "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."

Al B. Sure! also spoke about the song and how Biz originally reached out to him and fellow R&B singer Keith Sweat to sing the iconic hook. "But I believe in Marcel's case, nobody -- and I mean nobody -- could have rocked the chorus like the iconic, charismatic, signature Biz Markie," he argued during his speech.