Biz: The "Clown Prince of Hip Hop"

At least two generations have been charmed by the beatbox amusements of the “Clown Prince of Hip Hop,” Biz Markie. If you were a kid or older in 1989 you’ve sung (wailed) along with, “OH BABY YOUUU, got what I NEEEEED,” more times than you’d care to admit, and if you had kids (or were a kid) between 2007-2015 you’ve beatboxed with Super Biz on Yo Gabba Gabba, “Hey kids, just gather ‘round for Biz’s beat of the day, I’m gonna teach you some sounds!” Music-loving millennials may have first met Biz through his collaboration with Ke$ha on the cleverly chaotic Flaming Lips track “2012 (You Must Be Upgraded) from the album The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends

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Biz started young and managed to survive, beating the odds and going from ‘80s/’90s hip hop star to beloved kids TV show host to one of the most notable artists and DJs in the industry. At the age of 14, Marcel Hall dazzled his neighborhood under the alias of Biz Markie. Born to embrace hip-hop, Biz is originally from Harlem but later moved to Long Island where he gained notoriety by his early teen years for beatboxing and rhyming. Biz beatboxed his way into the hearts of hip-hop lovers, delivering humorous, witty rhymes that made him lovable and admired by music fans all over. Now 30 years older and immensely wiser, Biz continues to be universally praised by the ever-fickle and unforgiving hip-hop industry. No easy feat to accomplish, Biz is the definition of longevity and has managed to remain one of the most notable artists and DJs in the industry. 

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You can find Biz spinning and performing amongst almost every major celebrity in America and abroad, and numerous TV appearances. He has under his belt such mega-events as The Grammy’s After Parties, The Pre-Oscar Party, Will Smith Movie Premiere Events, and many more. He currently DJ's and performs in club and concert venues all over the world, consistently booking over 175 shows a year. He is currently on the I Love the 90's Tour and 80's vs 90's Decades Collides Tour.

With more than 30 prosperous years in the entertainment industry, Biz Markie continues to maintain his longevity while pioneering innovative works. Biz moves with ease through multiple genres outside of the Hip Hop world, having worked with The Rolling Stones, Will Smith and the alternative rock band The Flaming Lips just to name a few. Simply put, Biz Markie is one of the most sought after Entertainers in the business to date.


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You’ve heard Biz Markie, you might not know it but you have. From “Just a Friend” (Oh BABY YOU, you got what I need…) to Yo Gabba Gabba, Men In Black, his “Benny and the Jets” cover on the Beastie Boys’ Ill Communication album and so much more—Biz Markie has been all over pop culture for over thirty years. As a kid in Ogden back in the mid 80’s (I’m old) accessing anything cool was tricky (and we had to walk uphill in the snow for miles). Unless you had cable, or knew someone who did, your sphere of influence was limited to the Zion Curtain. Luckily, I had cousins who lived in New Jersey. While they mainly liked metal, they brought a varied stack of tapes with them when they came to visit one summer, and in that stack lied a tape that would change the way I looked at hip hop.  

The Beastie Boys had dropped License to Ill a few years prior, and Run DMC along with Aerosmith had brought hip hop out to the suburbs. But looking at the cover of Biz Markie’s Goin OFF with the rapper’s tongue sticking out in a “mirror selfie,” I had no idea what I was in store for. Unlike the self-aggrandizing machismo that permeates hip hop today, songs like “This Is Something for the Radio” and “Make Music with Your Mouth, Biz” were unlike anything I had heard before. Biz was funny, intelligent and delivered his flows in a sly cadence that allowed his unassuming mastery of the beat to almost go unnoticed as he spit humor in songs like “Pickin Boogers.” Legendary DJ, Producer, and all-around hip hop icon Marley Marl produced the album and his genius, mixed with Biz’s playful rhymes, created an album with street cred and laughability. “The Vapors” is also on that album and is such an inspirational song to anyone on the hustle, and has been covered by everyone including Snoop Dogg. I listened to that tape so much it wore out—I tried to get everyone to listen to it but in comparison to what else was out there, my friends thought it was cheesy.  

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So I listened to Biz by myself, for about a year. I’ll never forget the time I was at a friend’s house after school, and his sister was watching MTV. In between Madonna songs, I heard a familiar delivery. “Have you ever met a girl that you tried to date.” It was the intro to Biz’s iconic song, “Just a Friend” and it only took a few bars before I knew my “secret” was out. The following week at school, kids were wearing cardigans and Nikes with gold chains. One of my friends who had dismissed me when I tried to introduce him to “The Vapors” was now telling me how great this new dude named “Diz Markie” was. That’s when I realized how diabolical Biz really was. He could joke and beatbox his way from the streets of New York onto the TV screens and radios of people in Ogden, who were still excited that Tiffany had recorded a music video here. That’s when I knew the genius of the phrase, “Nobody Beats the Biz.” As a lifelong fan, I’m so excited to help bring Biz Markie to Ogden for the first time in person, and I get to tell my friend when he asks for tickets, “Nobody beats the Diz…”

—Daniel Mathews, Indie Ogden Magazine