Fans and family mourn for hip-hop star Biz Markie

Family and friends paid their final tribute Monday to Biz Markie, a hip-hop artist who rose to stardom through countless house nights on Long Island and has never lost touch with his roots.

Reverend Al Sharpton, who delivered the eulogy inside the Patchogue Theater for the Performing Arts, said Markie “kept it real all the time”

“He never lost that authenticity,” Sharpton told the crowd, which included celebrities such as LL Cool J. “He cared about people. He was more than just a friend, he was an icon. “

Markie’s widow Tara Hall remembers telling her that besides being a DJ the best part of her job was “just being me”.

Markie, real name Marcel Theo Hall, passed away on July 16 at the age of 57 after a career that spanned nearly four decades that included creating music and then transitioning to being a sought-after DJ for celebrities and making cameos in movies and a children’s show.

As dozens of fans stood outside the theater during the service, featured in the program as “The Final Show,” inside his black coffin was surrounded by letters that spelled BIZ in bloom, while an artist was painting a giant and colorful portrait of Markie.

Those who knew Markie, who was born in Manhattan and later moved to Patchogue, said he kept close ties with those he grew up with, never forgetting where he came from.

Johnny Nunez recalled meeting Markie while they were both attending Brentwood High School. He recalled that Markie was doing beatboxing at the time – a form of vocal percussion using the mouth and teeth to mimic a drum machine or other musical instruments.

Although Nunez didn’t dabble in music and instead turned to photography, the Brentwood native said Markie never forgot him when they crossed paths at celebrity parties years later.

“He loved everyone,” Nunez said. “He was an ambassador of humanity, a cultivator of culture and I will miss him.”

Markie attended fundraising concerts at Wyandanch Memorial High School – the first in February 1985 – with friends including Belal Miller, who was in his early days as a DJ.

Ralph Horton, who met Markie at 14, called him a “gift” and said he came to his aid when Markie needed him. As Markie grew in music, he brought Horton.

“He made me see that there was more to life than Long Island, that little fish bowl we know as Long Island,” said Horton, who was Markie’s route manager. 1988 to 1992 and again from 2004 to 2007. “And I’ll never forget him. He changed my life.

Music video director Ralph McDaniels said he remembers Markie when he beatboxed for Juice Crew member Roxanne Shanté.

McDaniels said that Markie’s creativity lives on through her videos which “still date” through songs such as her 1989 single “Just a Friend”.

“I see people recreating this video,” McDaniels said.

Markie’s cousin Vaughan Lee, known as DJ Cool V, said he has touched so many people through his music.

“He wanted to put Long Island on the map,” Lee said, biting back tears. “Biz was a big, big dreamer.”

Corina C. Butler

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