Biz Markie is among hip-hop’s revered pioneering beatboxers of the 1980s.
But the younger generation of music fans who did not witness his career grow from grinding in the New York streets to being a globally recognized DJ, may know him best for his hit record “Just a Friend.”
The platinum single from his 1989 album, “The Biz Never Sleeps,” cracked the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and since then has been recognized as a classic. The record has been sampled numerous times throughout the years, and remained a crowd favorite whenever Biz would rock a crowd.
At the time, DJ Cool V says everyone thought he was crazy “for letting him do that record.” The record became an instant hit, something neither of them could have predicted. “I said, ‘Man I got a good feeling about this record.’ And we did it. It just took off. It morphed into something that we could never imagine,” he told Hip Hop DX in a recent interview.
But despite its popularity, Biz’s friend and longtime collaborator said they never saw a dime of the profits.
“The sweetness comes in that we were able to perform it for almost 31 years,” said the author of “DJ Cool V Never Sleeps.” “And now comes the other side of it — we never made money off the record. I still haven’t got paid for that record.”
The reason why is a combination of record royalties being tied to Cold Chillin’ Records and a contract that duped the duo out of their fair share of money, Cool V claims.
“It trickled down. So, we never made money off the record. But, we made the money off the shows and we had a great performing career,” he explained. “But now it gets back to the bittersweet because every time I hear it, it’s going to remind me of Biz, but it’s also going to remind me of how I can’t make more money off of it. Everybody’s feeding their family off our work and we’ve never made money off that record.”
Biz passed on July 16 at the age of 50. His death came at the end of a year-long battle of health complications linked to his Type II diabetes. His passing rocked the hip-hop community, which had already suffered a huge hit months prior when rapper DMX died. Biz was remembered fondly by fans, family, and friends online as well as during a memorial service held Aug. 2.
Among those who shared memories about the late emcee was singer Mario, who garnered his first big hit in 2002 with rendition of ‘Just A Friend.”
“I owe so much to your legacy BIZ,” he wrote on social. “You were always optimistic and full of energy not matter what was going on. We will miss you but continue to celebrate you!! JUST A FRIEND was a classic and came OUT THE YEAR I WAS BORN! You will always live through hearts and the music. 🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾💔”