Biz Markie’s ‘Just a Friend’: The rapper originally tried to recruit 2 R&B singers to sing


The passing of Biz Markie is the latest heartbreaking loss in the hip-hop world. The Harlem native can beatbox and put you in a trance (in his own words), and he delivered some of the most entertaining songs in music. “Just a Friend” is probably his biggest hit, and it’s a bop everyone knows by sight and sound. Fans know this biz is singing Marky Hook, but he initially tried to recruit two R&B veteran artists to help him sing.

Biz Marquee on 6 April 1988 in Kensington High Street, London, UK | David Corio / Redfern / Getty Images

Biz Markie Asks Al Be Sure Or Keith Sweat To Sing ‘Just A Friend’

Imagine if Biz Markie in “Just a Friend” didn’t sing the hook in that Mozart costume. The way he sang “You’ve Got What I Need” is unmatched, but originally, the rapper wanted a singer to do that part. At first, he intended his TJ Hans to do it, but he was working on a project of his own.

Swann sang on Biz’s “Make the Music With Your Mouth, Biz” and “Nobody Beats the Wiz” and would have been a natural choice as part of the Juice Crew. But the biz had to move on and try two other candidates. In a 2014 interview with the Huffington Post, he revealed who he tapped next.

“Yeah, I was trying to get my man (Juice Crew singer TJ) Hans, but he said he was doing his album, and I tried to get Al B Sure and I tried to get Keith Sweat Of course, I tried to get them to sing it but they were busy doing their job, so I said I’d do it,” he recalled. At the time, they were two of the most popular singer-songwriters in the game.

Biz Markie Believed In ‘Just A Friend’ When No One Else Did

“Just a Friend” charted on the Billboard 100 and went platinum upon its release in 1990. It’s the biz marquee’s biggest hit to date, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t have her opponents. During an interview with Fifteen Minutes With, the late artist said that people were not feeling the song.

“Nobody liked that record. People thought it was bullshit. Even my teammates were telling me not to do it, that it was garbage, but they didn’t hear what I heard.” I’m like, ‘Okay, I hear you, but I still believe it.’ Even my record company rejected it, but suddenly it popped up,” said Biz Markie. “It was a different story then. He looked at me, like, “Yeah!” Suddenly he believed it, but I knew from the very beginning that I was alone there. That’s why I do things my way, not someone else’s. You have to believe in yourself.”

After the song took off, it catapulted Biz Markie into the limelight, but he always remained a humble person who loved hip-hop as an art form.

R&B singer Mario later sang ‘Just a Friend’

More than a decade after Biz Marquee first released the track, Mario flipped it to an R&B tune and put his stamp on it. Titled “Just a Friend 2002”, the lyrics were about a boy’s crush on a girl. Biz Markie also made a quick cameo in the video.

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