15 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Arguably hip-hop's most beloved clown prince, Biz Markie is best remembered for his bugged-out but down-to-earth lyrics, relentlessly funky production, and more than a few classic singles. This compilation (originally released in 1994) features all of his key jams from the late ‘80s, showcasing the beatbox standard "Nobody Beats the Biz," storytelling rap favorite "Vapors," and huge crossover smash/off-key sing-along "Just a Friend." The beats (provided mostly by Marley Marl and Biz himself) still sound fresh decades later, and if anything the goofy charm on display is appreciated now more than ever. Tracks like "Spring Again" and "Let Me Turn You On" are guaranteed to lighten up even the most mean-mugging hard rocks, and further prove the Biz's unparalleled ability to craft timeless party rap. Old people, young people, guys and girls, black and white, everybody loves B-I-Z. One listen to this collection and the reason is clear.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Arguably hip-hop's most beloved clown prince, Biz Markie is best remembered for his bugged-out but down-to-earth lyrics, relentlessly funky production, and more than a few classic singles. This compilation (originally released in 1994) features all of his key jams from the late ‘80s, showcasing the beatbox standard "Nobody Beats the Biz," storytelling rap favorite "Vapors," and huge crossover smash/off-key sing-along "Just a Friend." The beats (provided mostly by Marley Marl and Biz himself) still sound fresh decades later, and if anything the goofy charm on display is appreciated now more than ever. Tracks like "Spring Again" and "Let Me Turn You On" are guaranteed to lighten up even the most mean-mugging hard rocks, and further prove the Biz's unparalleled ability to craft timeless party rap. Old people, young people, guys and girls, black and white, everybody loves B-I-Z. One listen to this collection and the reason is clear.

TITLE TIME
2:18
5:04
3:39
5:03
4:01
4:37
4:41
6:02
5:06
3:58
4:03
4:02
5:25
4:07
2:19

About Biz Markie

Biz Markie's inclination toward juvenile humor and his fondness for goofy, tuneless, half-sung choruses camouflaged his true talents as a freestyle rhymer. The Biz may not have been able to translate his wild rhyming talents to tape, but what he did record was worthwhile in its own way. With his silly humor and inventive, sample-laden productions, he proved that hip-hop could be funny and melodic, without sacrificing its street credibility. His distinctive style made his second album, The Biz Never Sleeps, a gold hit and its single, "Just a Friend," into a Top Ten pop single. While its success made Markie a semistar, it also cursed him. Not only was he consigned as a novelty act, but it brought enough attention that Gilbert O'Sullivan sued him over the unauthorized sample of "Alone Again (Naturally)" on Biz's 1991 album I Need a Haircut. The lawsuit severely cut into Markie's career, and 1993's All Samples Cleared! was the last record he released during the '90s. However, his reputation was restored somewhat in the mid-'90s as the Beastie Boys championed him and other alternative rap groups showed some debt to his wild, careening music.

A native of New York, Biz (born Marcel Hall) first came to prominence in the early '80s, when he began rapping at Manhattan nightclubs like the Funhouse and the Roxy. Biz met producer Marley Marl in 1985, and began working as a human beatbox for Marl-connected acts MC Shan and, later, Roxanne Shanté. He also recorded his first set of demos, and by 1988, had signed with Cold Chillin'. Later that year, he released his debut, Goin' Off, which became a word-of-mouth hit based on the underground hit singles "Vapors," "Pickin' Boogers," and "Make the Music With Your Mouth, Biz." A year later, he broke into the mainstream when "Just a Friend," a single featuring rapped verses and out-of-tune sang choruses, reached the pop Top Ten, and its accompanying album, The Biz Never Sleeps, went gold.

The Biz Never Sleeps put him near the top of the hip-hop world, but he fell from grace as quickly as he achieved it. Biz's third album, I Need a Haircut, was already shaping up to be a considerable sales disappointment when he was served a lawsuit from Gilbert O'Sullivan, who claimed that the album's "Alone Again" featured an unauthorized sample of his hit "Alone Again (Naturally)." O'Sullivan won the case in a ruling that drastically changed the rules of hip-hop. According to 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 fully before releasing a hip-hop record. Biz countered with his 1993 album, All Samples Cleared!, but his career had already been hurt by the lawsuit, and the record bombed.

For the remainder of the decade, he kept a low profile, occasionally guesting on records by the Beastie Boys and filming a freestyle television commercial for MTV2 in 1996. The alliance with the Beasties raised his profile considerably, but Biz began DJing instead of continuing to record. Finally, in 2003, he released Weekend Warrior for Tommy Boy, though it was his appearance (and victory) in 2005 on VH1' s Celebrity Fit Club that brought him more attention than the actual record. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine

  • ORIGIN
    New York, NY [Harlem]
  • BORN
    Apr 8, 1964

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