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Malik B Founding Member of The Roots Passes Away

Malik B, a founding member of The Roots and solo artist, has passed away at the age of 47. The Philadelphia rapper’s death was verified by his cousin Don Champion, former CBS News reporter as well as founding member Ahmir  “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “ Black Thought” Trotter.  

“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 ,” Questlove and Black Thought said in a statement to The Post. “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.”

Malik B & The Roots

Malik Abdul Basit first joined The Roots before the group’s 1993 debut studio album. He first met Roots co-founders Ahmir Thompson and Tariq Trotter while attending Millersville University, in rural Pennsylvania, in the early ’90s. In 1993  The Roots self-released its debut album “Organix.” Malik b went on to also appear on the band’s next three albums including “Do You Want More?!!!??!,” and “Illadelph Halflife”which  propelled the group towards the mainstream — both in hip-hop and the culture at large.

Malik B.’s last album as a member of The Roots, “Things Fall Apart”, remains a a highly decroated album and an iconic piece for the art of hip-hop, earning a Grammy for the Erykah Badu-featuring “You Got Me” and selling over 1 million in the U.S.

Malik B left the group in 1999 before The Roots released its fifth album, “Phrenology.” Roots member Black Thought dedicated a song to Malik B entitled “Water” on the album describing how they met.

Basit went on to produce solo material and, several years after his departure also appeared on several tracks on Roots albums.guest on three songs from “Game Theory, The Roots’ seventh album, released in 2006. He also released an EP, “Psychological”,  the same year. “Street Assault“ in 2005 and “Unpredictable“ in 2015 with producer Mr. Green.

A Family in Mourning

Don Champion also released a heartfelt statement in memory of the late Philly rapper. “Mourning my beloved cousin today. He was so talented and had a huge heart. I still remember when he and The Roots were starting. He’d give my dad and me their cassette tapes to listen to. I miss you already, Mailk.”

No cause of death has been revealed, but well wishes and peace are being sent to the family by fans and friends. 

View this post on Instagram

We made a name and carved a lane together where there was none. We ressurected 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 bitch. I always wanted to change you, to somehow sophisticate your outlook and make you see that there were far more options than the streets, only to realize that you and the streets were one… and there was no way to separate a man from his true self. My beloved brother M-illitant. I can only hope to have made you as proud as you made me. The world just lost a real one. May Allah pardon you, forgive your sins and grant you the highest level of paradise. #MalikB #TheLegendaryRootsCrew

A post shared by Black Thought (@blackthought) on

Band mate and long time friend Black thought Wrote on Instagram,“We made a name and carved a lane together where there was none. We ressurected a city from the ok and make you see that there were far more options than the streets, only to realize that you and the streets were one… and there was no way to separate a man from his true self. My beloved brother M-illitant. I can only hope to have made you as proud as you made me. The world just lost a real one. May Allah pardon you, forgive your sins and grant you the highest level of paradise.”

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