Malik B, best known as a former and found member of The Roots, has passed away. Born Malik Abdul Basit, he was just 47 years old.
The M-Illa-tant’s passing was first revealed by his cousin Don Champion on Twitter. Keith McPhee, the music supervisor of the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon also noted Malik B’s passing sometime last night but there are still no details regarding the cause of death.
In the early evening (July 29), the Roots issued a statement via their official Twitter account.
“We regretfully inform you of the passing of our beloved brother and long time Roots member Malik Abdul Basit,” it reads. “May he be remembered for his devotion to Islam and innovation as one of the most gifted MCs of all time. We ask that you please respect his family in our time of mourning.”
“Heartbroken to hear of the passing of Malik B, one of the greatest MC’s to ever come from this city,” said Philadelphia native and rapper Reef Da Lost Cause on Twitter. “He had his troubles for sure, but dude inspired a whole generation of us to touch the mic. Myself included. May he rest peacefully.”
Starting with the Roots’ debut, 1993’s Organix, Malik was full time member until about their fourth album, 1999’s Things Fall Apart. On the latter album, it was Malik who brought along a homie called Beanie Sigel to a studio session for what would become the song “Adrenaline!,” before the rapper got snatched up by Jay-Z and Roc-a-fella. Malik B did make a short return for 2006’s Game Theory, appearing on a few tracks.
Malik B’s last project was 2015’s Unpredictable, a collaborative project with producer Mr. Green. A well-respected and verbally dexterous MC, the Philly native has plenty of classic verses, including the closer on The Roots’ “Clones.”
And, of course, “Distortion To Static.”
Rest in powerful peace Malik B.
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Mourning my beloved cousin today. He was so talented and had a huge heart. I still remember when he and The Roots were starting out. He'd give me and my dad their cassette tapes to listen to. I miss you already, Mailk. #RIP ❤️ https://t.co/UMQeXJsWmf— Don Champion (@DonChampionTV) July 29, 2020