Monday, November 7, 2011

Just A Friend by Biz Markie

“Just A Friend” is one of most memorable raps songs of all time. It was one of those songs that you felt like you knew even if you only listened to part of it. I don’t remember the first time I heard this song and I can’t remember a time that I didn’t know this song.

One of the things people credit country music with is its ability to tell stories. Well, rap music does a pretty good job of this as well and “Just A Friend” is prime example.


Biz Markie - Just A Friend by rikma

This song is a cautionary tale, warning that if a girl tells you that another man in her life is “just a friend,” don’t trust her. Chances are, she’s just leading you on and probably cheating on this other guy with you.

In-between the verses which tells this tragic love story Biz Markie “sings” the chorus. Yes, the word sings is in quotes because like someone posted on youtube about Biz Markie, he is a cross between “Biggie and Tracy Morgan.” The singing part is definitely Tracy Morgan.  After hearing him get through the verses of the song, well, he . . . um. . . . yeah, it’s one of the most hilariously awful vocal performances in pop music. The things is, that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

His delivery perfectly matches the tone of this song. Yes, this story is something that could make some sad and upset, but Biz’s reactions like the chorus is one of humor. He’s looking at this frustration circumstance and you can just imagine him in his retelling of this story laughing about it.

“Just A Friend” is a beautiful example of an artists abilities matching up with a type of song that creates something amazing. Biz Markie would not be as successful doing a more serious song and a different rapper like Eminem couldn’t really pull of this song without Biz’s unique charm.

While Biz’s song can definitely from an objective point of view be of a low quality, his rapping is different story. No, he doesn’t have the spit-fire delivery of 2pac or the lyric fluidity of Jay-Z. However Biz Markie, is able to rap around the beats is a casual and unpretentious way. If you rap along with him you definitely notice moments when things don’t initially seem feel right but fall into place moment slater. While his skills are subtle, they are definitely there.

1989 was a very different time for rap music. It hadn’t gotten deep into Gangsta Rap and while there was a lot of socially conscious Rap music that was serious, some of it was light-hearted. Biz Markie looked at his life with humor and his ability through this song to remind us to not take ourselves too seriously has created a place for this song in the canon of popular music.

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