Marcel Theo Hall (born April 8, 1965, Savage,
Maryland) better known by his stage name, Biz Markie, is an American
rapper, beatboxer, DJ, comedian, actor, reality television personality,
and commercial spokesperson. He is best known for his novelty single "Just
a Friend", an American Top 10 hit in 1989. In 2008, "Just
a Friend" made #100 on VH1's list of the 100 greatest hip hop
songs of all time.
Markie has been called "the Clown Prince of Hip Hop."
Biz Markie's career began on Long Island, New York in the early
1980s, where he established his reputation for beat-boxing and rapping.
MC Shan and Roxanne Shante were part of Marley Marl's Cold Chillin'
Records, and Biz beatboxed on Shante's underground hit "Def
Fresh Crew" (1986). This lent credibility to his recording career
and put Cold Chillin' on the map. In the same year, Biz Markie's
debut single, "Make the Music With Your Mouth, Biz", was
released on Prism Records. He released his debut album, Goin' Off,
which attracted a fair amount of attention, largely due to the lead
single, "Make the Music With Your Mouth, Biz". The album
also featured the underground hit singles "Nobody Beats The
Biz", "The Vapors" and "Pickin' Boogers".
I Need a Haircut sales were already low when Markie was served a
lawsuit by Gilbert O'Sullivan, who claimed that the album's Alone
Again featured an unauthorized sample from his hit "Alone Again
(Naturally)". O'Sullivan's claim was upheld in a landmark ruling,
Grand Upright Music, Ltd. v. Warner Bros. Records, Inc., that
altered the landscape of hip-hop, finding that all samples must be
cleared with the original artist before being used. In accordance
with 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 with the samples' creators before releasing
the records. This development reflected the increasing popularity
of hip-hop and the financial stakes over which releases were set.
Biz responded in 1993 with the mischievously titled All Samples Cleared!,
but his career had been hurt by the publicity emanating from the
lawsuit, and the record suffered accordingly. For the remainder of
the decade, he occasionally made television appearances, including
guest appearances on In Living Color (including as Damian "Foosball" Franklin
in the recurring sketch "The Dirty Dozens" and as Marlon
Cain in "Ed Bacon: Guidance Counselor") and in a 1996 freestyle
rap commercial on MTV2. He also made numerous guest appearances with
the Beastie Boys, "Check Your Head" (1992), "Ill Communication" (1994), "Hello
Nasty" (1998), and their anthology The Sounds of Science (1999).
He also rapped on the song "Schizo Jam", on Don Byron's
1998 release, "Nu Blaxploitation" (Blue Note/Capitol) and
worked with Canibus on the first track on the Office Space soundtrack
(1999). He also rapped on the track "So Fresh" alongside
Slick Rick on Will Smith's 1999 album "Willenium"
In 1996, he appeared on the Red Hot Organization's compilation CD,
America is Dying Slowly, alongside Wu-Tang Clan, Coolio, and Fat
Joe, among others. The CD, meant to raise awareness of the AIDS epidemic
among African American men, was heralded as a masterpiece by The
In 1997 he appeared on the Rolling Stones' song Anybody Seen My
Baby? on their album Bridges to Babylon. His part was shortened on
some radio versions.
In 2002, he appeared as an alien in Men in Black II with Will Smith
and Tommy Lee Jones, essentially playing an alien parody of himself,
whose native language sounded exactly like beatboxing. Between 2002
and 2003 he appeared in episode 5 of the TV series Fastlane playing
himself as a nightclub DJ. In 2003 he appeared in the international
television series titled Kung Faux performing a series of voice over
characters featured in a variety of episodes. In 2004, his song The
Vapors appeared on the soundtrack of Rockstar's popular videogame
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas which featured an old school hip hop
radio station, Playback FM. In 2006, Biz detoured from his recording
duties to appear on the first season of the television show Celebrity
Fit Club which challenged celebrities to lose weight by a combination
of diet and exercise. Biz Markie lost more weight than anybody else
in the competition. That year, he was also in an episode of The Andy
Biz Markie was a cast member on Nick Cannon's Wild 'n Out, seasons
1 and 3. Biz also does the beatboxing segment, Biz's Beat of the
Day on the Nick Jr. show Yo Gabba Gabba!.
Biz Markie began 2008 opening for Chris Rock's No Apologies" tour.
Biz Markie's act includes spinning records ranging from old school
hip hop to Lynyrd Skynyrd and then performing "Just a Friend".
Biz Markie's play list includes the following: "Children's Story" by
Slick Rick, "Rapper's Delight" by The Sugarhill Gang, "Billie
Jean" by Michael Jackson, "Holiday" by Madonna, "Wake
Me Up Before You Go Go" by Wham!, "It Takes Two" by
Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock, "The Breaks" by Kurtis Blow and "Robot
Rock" by Daft Punk.
In December 2009, Biz Markie appeared in a RadioShack commercial,
repeating the line: "Oh Snap! Guess what I saw!" from his
song "Just A Friend". That same year saw his debut with
Andy Milonakis in television commercials for the commercial Internet
service, Tune Up.
In 2010, Biz Markie appeared on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of All
Time, providing commentary throughout the series. Biz Markie himself
was not included on the list. On November 9, 2010, Biz appeared on
The Aquabats! new EP, Radio Down! in the title track. On November
11, 2010, Biz sat in with The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
and performed "Just a Friend" with actor Jeff Goldblum.
Biz Markie also appeared in the Adventure Time season two episode
Slow Love, which aired on November 15, 2010.
 Studio albums
1988: Goin' Off
1989: The Biz Never Sleeps
1991: I Need a Haircut
1993: All Samples Cleared!
2003: Weekend Warrior
1994: Biz's Baddest Beats
1996: Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks
1998: On the Turntable
2000: On the Turntable 2
2002: Greatest Hits
2006: Make the Music with Your Mouth, Biz
2009: Ultimate Diabolical
2009: "Yo Gabba Gabba Music is Awesome!"
2010: The Aquabats Radio Down!
Year Song Chart positions Album
U.S. Hot 100 U.S. R&B U.S. Rap
1987 "Make the Music with Your Mouth" — 84 — Goin'
1988 "Vapors" — 37 —
1989 "Just a Friend" 9 22 5 The Biz Never Sleeps
1991 "What Comes Around Goes Around" — 84 4 I Need
1993 "Let Me Turn You On" — — 7 All Samples
1993 "Young Girl Bluez"