Arguably more than any other time in hip-hop's history, the 1980s was an era that featured a plethora of rappers with personality to spare.
From the fly guy musings of Slick Rick and Dana Dane to the quirky rhythms of De La Soul, there was an abundance of colorful characters making noise during hip-hop's golden era. One of the more popular among those artists was Juice Crew member Biz Markie.
Making his debut with 'Goin' Off' on Cold Chillin' Records in 1988, the album was met with positive reviews as a result of critics praising his quick-witted humor and storytelling skills. His music also impacted the rap charts as well, producing classic singles such as 'The Vapors,' among others. The LP is considered one of the most noteworthy efforts from that era, even christened by The Source as one of the 100 Best Rap Albums in 1998.
Following the success of his debut, he went back to the drawing board to work on his sophomore effort, 'The Biz Never Sleeps,' released on Oct. 10, 1989. While Marley Marl produced 'Goin' Off' in its entirety, this album took a departure from that method. Instead, Biz enlisted his cousin/DJ Cool V and the late Paul C to collectively work their magic behind the boards. The album surpassed the success of its predecessor commercially, going gold and producing a number of hit singles and cuts that remain fan favorites to this day.
Twenty five years have passed since the release of this gem, and to celebrate, The Boombox highlights the five best songs from the album. Don't sleep.
'She's Not Just Another Woman (Monique)'
Biz Markie introduced us to a childhood crush named Monique on 'She's Not Just Another Women.' From carrying her bags on Halloween to being lovesick after moving away to Long Island, the New York MC gets his simp on with no remorse, kicking rhymes about treating her as a queen and not just another around-the-way filet. Littered with booming drums and featuring a hook lifted off of '70's band 8th Day's classic of the same name, the Diabolical Biz concocts another winner to add to the stash.
Biz Markie shows us that everything isn't always what it seems with the cold chillin' 'A Thing Named Kim.' Over a groovy bassline, the Biz spins a tale of nightlife deception in which he encounters a he-she while in a dimly lit nightclub. Bellyache-inducing lines like "I sent champagne to the table, the waiter asked her name / He returned with Kim and I almost came / I checked myself and made sure, I looked alright / And told my d---, 'Don't worry, we're f---ing tonight" are priceless and will force a smirk out of the most stone-faced listener. And last but not least, always remember: don't go to Getty, go to Exxon.
"Don't you like when the winter's gone / And all of a sudden it start getting warm," Biz rhymes as the opening bar to 'Spring Again.' The rapper proceeds to describe the joy that is beautiful weather and fun-filled days over the breezy beat. The track is powered by funky horns and James Brown's famed 'Funky Drummer' snares. Overall, the record is a winner from beginning to end and stands out as one of the more superb offerings on the LP.
'Check It Out' may get mad points for its booming, jeep-ready beat, but 'The Biz Never Sleeps' truly finds its footing with the follow-up track, 'The Dragon.' A vintage slang term for a foul odor (specifically, bad breath), it hasn't been documented by doctors and physicians, but is considered a particularly bad affliction by fly girls and b-boys alike. The Biz breaks down the causes of this unfortunate problem and offers solutions to offset it, as 'The Dragon' can have a debilitating effect on your overall image. An infectious harmonica, thumping drums and Biz Mark's clever commentary make this track go and should've been dedicated to Martin Lawrence's character Bilal in 'House Party.'
'Spring Again' is followed by what many consider to be the crown jewel of Biz Markie's catalog, the fan favorite 'Just A Friend.' Taking Freddie Scott's classic '(You) Got What I Need' and reworking it into a hip-hop jam, the Biz weaves a tale of meeting a hottie at one of his shows, only to discover that she secretly has a friend -- or bae -- on the side. A hit on the radio as well as the accompanying hilarious video, 'Just A Friend' has been played everywhere from party jams to beer commercials and even reworked by R&B heartthrobs. The track stands as one of the more timeless and relatable songs in rap history.