Biz Markie's Battle of the Decades

12:45 March 29, 2017
By: Finn Turnbull

“Have you ever had a rapper that you thought was great, but after years and years, he still wanted you to wait? Lemme tell the story of my situation. This rapper’s now a DJ for Livenation.” All the Generation X-ers were crammed in the House of Blues on Saturday night to see the reemergence of their favorite hip hop star, Biz Markie. The catch, however, was that Biz has decided to put down the mic and start touring as a DJ. 

Biz Markie joined the music scene in 1985 when he was a human beat box for Roxanne Shante of the Juice Crew. Soon after, he forged his own path and released his debut album Goin’ Off in 1988. A year later, Biz made his footprint on the hip hop world with the hit single “Just a Friend” off of his second album The Biz Never Sleeps. Since his billboard fame, Biz has done just about everything there is to do in the industry. He’s noted as a rapper and beatboxer, but also a DJ, comedian, actor, singer, reality TV personality, grartist (grunge artist), and commercial spokesperson. Apart from “Just a Friend” being featured in almost every romantic comedy since the 1990’s, Biz has acted on over 15 different productions including Spongebob Squarepants, Adventure Time, Yo Gabba Gabba!, Men in Black II, and In Living Color. And those are just the roles where he didn’t play himself.

Now a king of entertainment, Biz is hard at work as a club DJ, performing all over the world, and booking almost 200 shows a year. Despite fans coming out to see their beloved rapper, his visit to House of Blues New Orleans had a different agenda. Saturday night’s show was called “Decades Collide: 80’s Vs. 90’s,” and that’s exactly what it was. First, one of the house bands of Big Mama’s Lounge, clad in colorful 80’s apparel, opened the evening with a 45-minute set of 80’s covers. Biz then wheeled out his turntable and started his portion of the event. Fans greeted him with awe as he began to cut and scratch 80’s hits together. Stopping momentarily to speak into the mic held by his hype-man, he would say things like, “I know y’all remember this one,” as he played everything from Ultramagnetic MC’s to A-Ha to Salt-N-Pepa to Wham!. He even played a couple of his own tracks, which of course included “Just a Friend.”

After about an hour, Biz Markie left the stage to allow the cover band back on. They were now dressed as spice girls and flannel punks in order to play an hour set of 90’s favorites. Some of these tracks were recalled when Biz came back out for the second and final half of his performance. His 90’s tunes were mostly hip hop and R&B, including tracks from Notorious B.I.G., Digital Underground, Naughty by Nature, INOJ, Ice Cube, and everyone in between. After his final mix, Biz slapped hands with everyone in the front row, stopping to sign some autographs, and then he disappeared backstage. All in all it was a fun evening, that is, for those who went out to get nostalgic about the era they grew up in. However, those who attended with the hopes of seeing the Biz rap “Chinese Food,” would have been sorely disappointed.

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