Malik B, founding member of The Roots, dies aged 47

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MALIK B, a founding member of The Roots, has died aged 47.

The death of the rapper, whose full name is Malik Abdul Baset, was announced yesterday. His cause of death has not yet been made public.

His cousin, Don Champion tweeted: “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”

Malik B worked on four albums with The Roots before he left in 1999 to pursue a solo career. 

He later featured on the group’s albums Game Theory in 2006 and Rising Down in 2008.

In a statement posted on Instagram, the group said: “It is with heavy hearts and tearful eyes that we regretfully inform you of the passing of our beloved brother and long time Roots member Malik Abdul Basit.

“May he be remembered for his devotion to Islam, His loving brotherhood and his innovation as one of the most gifted MCs of all time.

“We ask that you please respect his family and extended family in our time of mourning such a great loss.”

Fans and fellow members of the hip hop community have shared their tributes to Malik B on social media.

Black Thought wrote on Instagram: “We made a name and carved a lane together where there was none. We resurrected a city from the ashes, put it on our backs and called it Illadelph. In friendly competition with you from day one, I always felt as if I possessed only a mere fraction of your true gift and potential. Your steel sharpened my steel as I watched you create cadences from the ether and set them free into the universe to become poetic law, making the English language your b****.”

Rapper Biz Markie tweeted: “A major reason why rap was so good in the 90s is that artists realized that the rap group was the platonic form. Malik B was a perfect example of that. Always reliable for 16 bars of heat, blessed w/ a great voice and cadence. A heroic role player on several classics.”

Commenting under Questlove’s tribute to Malik B on Instagram, Ice Cube wrote: “I’m sending you brothers my love.”


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