The Hip-Hop community is mourning the iconic rapper and DJ, Biz Markie (whose professional name Marcel Theo Hall).
Biz Markie dropped on the scene in the 80s with his congenial personality, unorthodox beatboxing, and as a central member of the Queensbridge Juice Crew, under the leadership of Marley Marl. However, despite having a stellar career that extended outside of Hip-Hop and touched everything from comic books to child education, his life was cut short too soon. On July 16, 2021, the “Just a Friend” chart-topper transitioned. Monday, August 2, friends, family and fans gather to say their final good-byes.
His service is in Long Island, a community that nurtured him in his youth, at the Patchogue Theater for the Performing Arts.
A private ceremony took place at 11:00 AM (EDT) and the public funeral service begins at 2:00 PM (EDT) and will be streamed live on TMZ and BET. Artists such as Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick, Treach, LL Cool J, Fat Joe, Ice T, Redman, EPMD, DJ Premier, Mister Cee, Rob Base, and MC Debbie Dee are amongst the first to arrive to support Biz’s family and his wife, Tara.
AllHipHop.com is also there to show our respect and to the revered artist.
Almost like a family reunion, everyone is gathering with a heavy heart but the vibe is celebratory and positive. There was even a visual artist Demont “Peekaso” Pinder on deck to create an on-site masterpiece in tribute to the beloved rapper.
Everything about the homegoing service is regal, including his casket that was beautifully crafted black wood with gold trimmings. As they closed his casket, Bid Daddy Kane kept his head down, seemingly in prayer, with his head shaking from side to side. The artist is painting to the right side of the stage, respectfully capturing the joy that Biz exuded all throughout his life. Opposite to the left, is a huge gold and black flowered-three panel sign that said, “BIZ.”
Those who organized the homegoing selected comedian James “Talent” Harris to be the emcee for the celebration.
As the service started, Bishop Lamor Miller Whitehead stepped up and recited Psalm 23 for those in attendance. Al B. Sure! took to the stage to recite a passage from the New Testament, reading Revelation 21:4.
Before he read the scripture, Al B. Sure! told a story about how Biz wanted him or Keith Sweat to sing on his record, “Just a Friend.” Of course, that didn’t happen, but it was a memory that was sweat.
Talent, as a great emcee, relays that Biz helped his career by consistently saying his slogan “It’s just comedy.” Then he takes a swig of his Heineken (another thing that Biz always reminded him to do) as he did a short set about the COVID-19 quarantine.
Lynne Hawkins read the obituary, one that was rich with history and accomplishments. The prayer was done with class and grace by Rev. Montell Jordon.
“Precious Lord” was powerfully delivered by a vocalist, Karen Anderson, that had worked with him in the past.
After Miss Anderson’s outstanding performance, DJ Cutmaster Cool V came to give reflections. Last month the company’s CEO, Chuck Creekmur sat with him to talk about working with Biz, his cousin.
As in his interview with Creekmur, he used humor to push through his feelings. He talked about his love to entertain people. He spoke about traveling the world for free. Every story gave the audience another glimpse into Biz’s extraordinary life. At times his reflection was emotional and difficult, and that is when Roxanne Shanté came to stand with him.
Then Shanté took the mic.
She first made her connection to Biz being her DJ and friend. Then she connected with him because he was a foster child. She broke down how his bonus family, The Parkers, showed both what good parenting looked like. She also told a story about how once he was eating out of her kitchen and her mother caught him. She told her mother, Peggy, “Hey, that’s my beatbox!” Her mother told them both, “I don’t care. The both of you can beat it out my house.” She then broke down and shared that he left her the best gift by connecting her to Cool V. As she wept, Cool V came and hugged her.
Asia Whitehead then gave another song, “Faith that Conquers”, to minister the sermonic selection to the bereaved crowd.
Rev. Al Sharpton then took the mic to deliver the eulogy that punctuated on Biz’s life, Hip-Hop culture and a charge to those connected to him to further the legacy of this amazing man. As he departed the stage, he saluted Biz with the “power to the people fist.”
Brother K.D. came to the stage to share another scripture from the Gospel of the Beloved Disciple, John 3:16. He repeated, “There is no death in God’s love.”
Jeffery Spencer was called to the mic to give his reflections. After stepping on the stage, he went over to Biz’s casket and touched the casket. Then he spoke about how they met, their relationship, and how he met Biz at a talent show. It was there, he was doing the “Biz Dance.” To culminate his touching tribute, he quoted the lyrics of “Amazing Grace.”
Ralph Horton came up to talk about his relationship, saying, “He changed my life.” He shared that he watched out for the “wolves” who might have been plotting on him. One thing that he reminded some and educated others on, was that Biz was an intense businessman. He also dropped that Biz loved his cars and competing on his fly. Horton said with his Woo beard, “It’s hard to compete with someone they are rich.” Horton ended his remarks with the poem, “The Dash.”
Sheldon “Diamond” Parker, Biz’s foster brother, came up to speak and reveal that he was there when Biz was baptized into the Christian faith. “Biz, we release you. We let you go. To the stars, we give another star. I love you brother,” Sheldon concluded.
Talent, again with his humor, told a joke about Rev. Al Sharpton stealing his funeral program. The crowd cracked up.
Mary Brown took the mic to sing a selection. Mary shared that she met him at a rap battle in New Jersey, and became friends with him. An established songwriter, she sang on many of his biggest hits — including Grand Daddy I.U.’s song, “Sugar Free.” Her selection, the last song that she would be able to sing for her friend, was “Just A Prayer Away.”
Avery Story, his bonus child, also gave reflections. Dressed in a white baseball hat and a black jacket, she gave the sweetest tribute. For her, one of the greatest memories was that he said that Christmas was every day.
Photographer Johnny Nunez shared his memories of meeting Biz at Brentwood Junior High School as a kid. He tells how his principal got shot in the face. Biz came to his school to “beatbox” for the kids to lift their spirits. The two would bump into each other throughout the years, but he didn’t think that Biz remembered him. One day at the Philly NBA All-Star game, he flickered the lights of his camera at him. Biz immediately recognized and beatboxed his name, saying “Johnny Nunez in the house.”
The last reflection was from Tara L. Hall, Biz’s wife.
She said that he was a Man of God, who loved his family. When he would come home from his trips, he would say, “Tara… Avery… I am home!” She said she wanted to have their house his favorite place to be. There seemed to always be jokes, and people said their home seemed like it was a “sitcom.”
He would yell, “From all angles …” then jump on her and her daughter on the bed. She giggled as she said that he was 300lbs. She talked about their dog, Major aka DJ Mage. She sweetly remembered him always wanting the new cereal when it came out. She said, “I didn’t even know cereals ‘came out.'”
Tara said that he made her laughed every day. One thing he said that made her laugh was “I have the best job ever.” When she asked what was that, he said “Just being me.” She then said, “I may not be taking care of his physical body, but I will be taking care of his legacy.”
She shared that she and her daughter received a note from the Obamas expressing their condolences.
Rev. Montell Jordan returned to the mic to remind people to stay connected after the funeral is over, before singing “Great Are You, Lord.” The benediction was done by Bishop Miller Whitehead after he opened the doors of the space and rendered “The Sinner’s Prayer.”
By the end of the program, Peekaso finished the beautiful portrait for the family.
The city shut down the highway to take the caravan to his final destination. The burial was officiated by MC Debbie Dee.