All Up In the Biz premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this Summer, nowhere near a coincidence, slated for the 50-year anniversary of the genre that molded me, hip hop.
This documentary tells the story of Biz Markie, a popular hip hop artist, who brought a certain fun to the genre I can’t quite refute. From the way he sings the chorus of irrefutably his best song, ‘Just A Friend,’ as if he’s been begging for 30 days and 30 nights hoping that his love interest would give him a real shot. To him, day by day with his foster family and musical cohorts that knew him, he was a guy that had his childhood dreams come true as an adult.
Director Sacha Jenkins took the initiative to not only talk about his grandiose presence in the game but highlighted the lovable man who was respected by everyone that came in contact with him.
The film shows Biz Markie’s life through archival footage and also different media recreating memories by way of a puppetry sketch and animated drawings.
This movie is nostalgic for me seeing as I grew up listening to 80s and 90s hip-hop, being infatuated by both eras, gravitating to these words that Markie once said,“I got addicted to this thing called hip hop ‘cause it was the cool thing to do.”
Aug. 11, 1973, hip hop was born in the colorful borough of the Bronx at a party being deejayed by Clive Campbell, famously known as DJ Kool Herc, “the Father of Hip-Hop.”
Next to DJ Kool Herc, the film spotlights other legends such as Grandmaster Flash, The Furious Five, RUN-DMC of Queens and Public Enemy of Long Island who all contributed to hip hop’s rich history from New York City. However, these artists also played a part in making Biz Markie a phenomenon.
In particular, “the human beatbox,” Doug E Fresh, was one of the first artists to jump-start beatboxing. Inspired heavily by Doug E Fresh, Biz Markie created his own beats with his voice with his own unique twist.
Outside of musical nostalgia, I learned about clothing designer Dapper Dan, who described Biz Markie as “just a regular guy.” Dan created countless costumes for Biz in the 80’s.
This film also brings great insight to the life of Biz Markie, including his struggle with Type 2 Diabetes that ultimately cost him his life.
The mix of animation, archival footage, the multiplicity of stories and the canvas painting ultimately revealed at the end of this film is a beautifully wrapped gift for Biz Markie and hip hop fans.