American rapper and actor, Biz Markie, near the workplaces Warner Bros. Records (owners of his record label, Cold Chillin’), Wlegal rights Lane, Kensington, London, 6th April 1988. (Photo by David Corio/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Have you ever met a girl you wanted to day, but a year to make love she wanted you to wait? Back in 1989, Biz Markie turned this acquainted scenario right into among the a lot of well-known songs in rap background. The self-described “Clown Prince of Hip-Hop” currently had a string of underground hit singles — including “Nobody Beats the Biz” and also “Vapors” — once his friend-zone anthem “Just a Friend” hit. A riff on Freddie Scott’s “You Got What I Need,” the track not only catapulted Biz to a level of fame, yet helped the genre break additionally into the mainstream.

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“Just a Friend” would certainly eventually go on to become among rap’s enthroughout standards, showing up in tv series, commercials, video games, and also talk shows. As nbromheads.tvly as 2017, it verified up in the seaboy 3 finale of Black-ish, wbelow Biz personalized the track to encompass the names of the show’s characters. But even if his anguiburned, off-crucial chorus continues to make people laugh, the rapper recently told Entertainment Weekly that he never before intended to sing it himself. Not just that, but the song, which turns 30 this month, was based upon a true story — one supposed to be an earswarm expression of his feelings that, for better or worse, fans have actually found hilarious for 3 years and also counting.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What initially influenced you to write “Just a Friend?”BIZ MARKIE: I was talking to this girl — the initially girl I ever talked to. And eincredibly time I would certainly speak to out to California, a dude would pick up and hand also her the phone. I’d be like, “Yo, what’s up ?” She’d say, “Oh, he’s simply a frifinish. He’s nobody.” And I came out there a week at an early stage simply to surpincrease her, and she’s tongue kissing somebody — and also I recorded her! So rather of me fighting, I put the pain right into the pen and created it out.

How well did you recognize the Freddie Scott song “(You) Got What I Need” once you chose to sample it for “Just a Friend?” It’s difficult to hear it currently without thinking of your rendition.What happened was I was in search of these Lee Dorsey drums , and also I told T.J. Swan back in ‘86 if I ever found them, I’m going platinum. So in ‘88 as soon as I was doing the album, Grand Wizard Theodore lugged me over to Danny Dan ’s house, and also he was playing documents, and also he played the beat. So I traded him a Barbra Streisand record for the drums, and also he started playing an additional 45, the Freddie Scott. I wasn’t putting them both together, however he played the Freddie Scott. So I gave him $200 for the 45s, also though the 45s were just worth a dollar. When I got to the studio, I had the beat and I was trying to lock up the 45 of Freddie Scott with the drums, but it wouldn’t lock up reason both of them were live. So a dude called Shane Favor, me and him had actually a key-board and we remained up until eight o’clock in the morning to discover the appropriate sound of the piano. And as soon as me and also him played the one time, it was over.

You’d already had a string of hits, but were you reasoning of something via more mainstream appeal as soon as you were composing the song?No, the document wasn’t done bereason it was commercial. I just did the record because I did the document. I just wanted to make a story rap document, not to go pop or anything.

Did you automatically think about it as a single? I it was gonna be a solitary. But it’s not choose I’m trying to find that document initially or last. I’m just doing the record.

When was the first minute that you realized “Just a Friend” was not simply a large song, yet an actual crossover hit?When Howard Stern and Frankie Crocker and all the white stations roughly the country started playing it. Due to the fact that I went about via my very own money and I went roughly the nation and advocated the document by myself.

Was it difficult to acquire them to play the song?Yeah. But the thing is, it didn’t go pop — it’s just that pop picked it up. I just came off of “Vapors,” a big hit. I simply went both directions this time.

What were your feelings as soon as it up? Was tright here a reactivity from the hip-hop community?A lot of world didn’t prefer the document at the start. They would certainly say, “Biz is trying to sing? Aw, the record is wack.” But I wasn’t expected to sing the . I asked people to sing the part, and also nobody proved up at the studio, so I did it myself.



When did you shoot the music video with Lionel C. Martin?We did the video that autumn. We did the video best before Labor Day. That was my principle. I assisted create the storybook via him. Because the record was intended to be severe and it came out funny.

The song was intended to be major, or the video?Just the song itself. I didn’t carry out it to be funny.

Was that frustrating that civilization assumed the song was funny?Naw, tright here wasn’t no frustration. I was just happy. People look at me as the clown prince of rap anymeans.

What are some of the a lot of offbeat or unintended offers of “Just a Friend” that you’ve checked out or heard in the years after it came out?They’ve used it for commercials. And the majority of world tried to carry out it over. But, you recognize, there’s nopoint like the original. Pepsi and also everybody supplied it.

How did its success adjust your career? It never before adjusted nopoint bereason I still carry out whatever the exact same. It never before readjusted nothin’.

You’ve had a lengthy career full of hits. Does it bvarious other you that some world think about you a one-hit wonder because of “Just a Friend?”I don’t feel poor. I recognize what I did in hip-hop.

Is tright here something about the legacy of this song or its success that stands out for you, or that you continue to host on to?I’m just glad that world still understand it 30 years later on. And it’s prefer a document eexceptionally time.

What are the lessons that you’ve taken amethod from this type of success and being a luminary in the music industry?I look at it as you’ve gained to treat hip-hop as a hobby, bereason I love what I execute. It keeps you on your toes and also it keeps the youth in you.

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Did “Just a Friend” assist you get over your heartbreak? Yes. I think all artists tell a story with their music, whether they competent it personally or someone they understand went through it. It’s always therapeutic to talk around heartbreak whether it’s a conversation through a friend, or with music.