Biz Markie Honored at N.Y. Memorial Service: 'I Am Going to Take Care of His Legacy,' Says Wife
Biz Markie's legacy continues to live on.
Friends, family and members of the hip-hop community gathered at the Patchogue Theater for the Performing Arts in New York City on Monday to pay their respects to the late rapper, who died on July 16 at age 57.
Born Marcel Theo Hall, Markie was known for his late '80s smash hit "Just a Friend" and played a big role in the mainstreaming of rap.
A private memorial for the artist, which was live-streamed on BET's YouTube channel, featured moving tributes from rapper-turned-pastor Montell Jordan and singer Roxanne Shante, as well as a performance from Mary Brown.
LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes and Fat Joe were also in attendance.
"He was more than just a friend. He was our icon," Rev. Al Sharpton said during the service. "He was our example."
Elsewhere in the eulogy, Sharpton said that Markie "brought the world to respect our culture with their R&B, all the way to gospel."
"The thing that was remarkable about Biz is he never lost that authenticity," Sharpton said. "Some artists started Black and then went mainstream. Biz was one of the artists that made mainstream come Black."
Markie's wife, Tara Hall, also appeared onstage and remembered her late husband for being an "amazing" partner and father.
"Biz was my biggest comfort when I was down," Hall said. "He made me laugh every day. That is not hyperbole. That is a fact."
"One day, Biz said to me, 'Tara, I have the best job in the world.' And I said, 'What, being a DJ?' And he said, 'No, just being me,' " she recalled.
"A person like that should live forever," Hall added. "I may not be taking care of Biz's physical body anymore, but I am going to take care of his legacy."
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Markie "peacefully passed away" with his wife by his side, a representative for the musician previously told PEOPLE in a statement.
"Biz created a legacy of artistry that will forever be celebrated by his industry peers and his beloved fans whose lives he was able to touch through music, spanning over 35 years. He leaves behind a wife, many family members and close friends who will miss his vibrant personality, constant jokes and frequent banter," the statement read.