For decades Biz Markie was considered rap royalty. On Monday, the self-proclaimed “clown prince of hip-hop” was remembered by family, friends and fellow rappers at a funeral service on Long Island, New York.
Fans gathered outside the Patchogue Theatre in tribute to the pioneering beatboxer, who was born in Harlem and raised in Patchogue.
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Treach of Naughty By Nature, Ice-T and Al B. Sure were among those attending the funeral for the hip-hop icon, who rose to fame with his 1989 classic “Just a Friend.” Singer and pastor Montell Jordan sang, and Rev. Al Sharpton delivered the eulogy.
“Everybody in this room is here because Biz earned our attendance because he was always there for us,” Sharpton said.
The late rapper, real name Marcel Theo Hall, was described as a true friend to those who needed him.
“Biz made a difference. He brought our culture downtown and wasn’t ashamed of us — wasn’t one that would ever dilute who he was. He cared for people. He had a way of making us laugh through our pain. He’d come in a room and his presence didn’t have to be announced, it was felt. And if you needed him, he was there,” Sharpton noted.
Biz’s wife Tara Hall also delivered remarks, telling the audience how her husband would comedically burst through the door and announce he was home.
“Thank you for all the love, all the prayers for me and my family. We love you right back,” Hall said.
Biz Markie died on July 16, after a lengthy battle with complications of Type 2 diabetes. He was 57.
The groundbreaking rapper began his career in New York City nightclubs. He gained regional recognition on college campuses before “Just a Friend” became a global hit.
Watch BET’s stream of the celebration of the rapper’s life below.