Biz Markie “Just a Friend” – Anniversary: On September 21st 1989, Biz Markie dropped his most popular hit single “Just a Friend” off his second album “The Biz Never Sleeps”. Marcel Hall aka the Biz was solely credited for writing, producing and performing the hit. The song sampled Freddie Scott’s 1968 R&B track “(You) Got What I Need” which was written by Philadelphia songwriter/ production team of Kenny Gamble & Leon Huff. It was released under the Cold Chillin’ label and has been certified platinum reaching #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1990. The song also peaked at #5 on the U.S. Hot Rap Singles Billboard. Karma, a producer for Cold Chillin’ Records at the time of the recording, made an unsubstantiated claim that he produced the hit single but never received credit for it.
Up to this point, artists could use samples without consequences so on his next album “I Need a Haircut”, Biz used another sample on track #12 “Alone Again”. This time he sampled “Alone Again (Naturally)” by Gilbert O’Sullivan which resulted in a landmark decision in 1991 when O’Sullivan sued Biz Markie. The use of the unauthorized samples ended up being considered theft and the Biz was forced to pull the album and remove the track. This decision by the court ended up being a game changer for artists using samples but it all started with Biz Markie.