The Clown Prince of Hip Hop, Biz Markie—Marcel Theo Hall—was celebrated in a village that he claimed as one of his favorite places on Long Island—Patchogue.
The Village of Patchogue is an eclectic, culturally rich, lively suburb that Biz once called home when residing on West Avenue during his formative teenage years, before he became the iconic, legendary talent who we know today. Full of life and never shy, Marcel, like many of us from the neighborhood, came from humble beginnings and expressed his dreams and desires to strive for more in life.
Biz would remind us often that he was going to be famous one day, which he followed up with, "You just watch. I'm gonna put Patchogue on the map!"
Well, on Monday, Aug. 2, Biz Markie, the legendary rapper, actor, D.J., producer and charitable icon, served the tea. As a visionary, he ensured that he will be enshrined in the consciouses and minds of all the lives he touched.
Media outlets, along with a multitude of friends and fans, lined Main Street in Patchogue. Tributes were abound. The Parker family, lauded rap artists, singers, actors and celebrities the likes of LL Cool J, The Juice Crew, Roxanne Shante, Ice T, Fat Joe, Big Daddy Kane, Triz, Nas, Al B Sure, Cool V, Dj Diamond, Montell Jordan, Rev. Al Sharpton and a host of esteemed guests, including Patchogue Village mayor Paul Pontieri and deputy mayor Jack Krieger, paid homage to a gentle giant who lived and traipsed the streets and neighborhoods of Patchogue.
His Home Going service was held at the Patchogue Theatre for The Performing Arts, with the marquee highlighted with the appellation, "Biz Markie - Marcel Theo Hall - The Final Act." The Playbill was expansive, descriptive and picturesque, with appreciation and love for Marcel, his family and friends.
Across from the theater is the Patchogue-Medford Library, where they congregated as youths and have fond remembrances of Biz showcasing his human beatboxing artistry, which was on display for all to see.
Biz transcended generations and passersby, both young and seasoned, would gather to watch him stage his amazing abilities. The Grooveline Crew, which Biz was a part-time member, was invited to perform on the lower level of the library and became a lasting and memorable event in the minds of many.
Biz was community-oriented and performed at many local venues, including La Union Hispanica, which was a social gathering hall with mentors that encouraged positive and service-oriented engagement in the community. Back in the day, there were no gangs. With the many hip-hop crews, the battles were done with turntables, microphones, rapping and breakdancing. The rap lyrics were nonaggressive and would take place weekly with each crew battling for supremacy. The title of Best Rap Crew would change from week to week. The losing crew would work diligently to create hip-hop lyrics that would topple the newly crowned group.
Biz Markie leaves behind a legacy that will be revered forever. Rev. Al Sharpton, during his eulogy, eloquently spoke of Biz as a genuine human being. "There was nothing fake about him,” he said. “He cared for people; he had a way of making us laugh through our pain. He’d come in a room and his presence didn’t have to be announced; it was felt.”
His many friends throughout Long Island remember him with similar stories. He was kind, never said a bad word about anyone, he encouraged people to be their best selves. I don't remember him having a disagreement with anyone; he was a peacemaker, he could diffuse any negative situations with humor. No obstacle was insurmountable to Biz.
“The thing I’m going to miss the most about him was every time he would see me, his face would just light up with that Chiclet, toothy smile. He made me laugh every day,” his lovely wife Tara Hall said. “That is not hyperbole. That is a fact.”
She also said she received a letter from former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle giving their condolences.
“It is important that we keep the work that Biz was doing through his foundation front and center. It was important to Biz that his work continues on.”