Biz Markie’s Legacy: A Tribute to an American Musical Icon
Biz Markie’s untimely death in 2021 at the age of 57 left a void in hip-hop and American music as a whole. His unique and singular talent will be sorely missed.
Directed by Sacha Jenkins, the documentary “All Up in the Biz” serves as a heartfelt and fitting tribute to Markie, the DJ, rapper, and gifted beatboxer.
Combining animation, comedic sketches, and dramatic reenactments, the film captures Markie’s irresistibly quirky nature. While not depicting his extended hospitalization before his passing, the documentary portrays the loving care provided by Markie’s wife, Tara Hall, with Markie himself portrayed by a bemused puppet.
The movie not only portrays Markie, whose real name was Marcel Theo Hall and was often referred to as “Mark” by friends, as a clown prince whose humor served as a coping mechanism for a challenging upbringing, but it also traces the parallel development of hip-hop in the Bronx and Long Island, with Markie representing the latter. In his early days, he honed his lyrics and delivery alongside the Juice Crew, a collective based in Queens, before releasing his first EP.
Despite not being initially appreciated, Markie demonstrated shrewdness in his commercial pursuits. Entertainment veteran Bernard Alexander recalls discarding the demo tape of the quirkily catchy “Just a Friend” by throwing it off a hotel balcony. Months later, the song became Markie’s breakthrough single, propelling him to pop stardom.
“Biz made me jealous,” admits rapper and record producer Rakim, a close friend. “He loved hip-hop more than anyone I knew.”
All Up in the Biz
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes. Watch on Showtime platforms.