July 29, 2020
Philadelphia native Malik Abdul Basit, a founding member of homegrown hip-hop group The Roots, has died at the age of 47, according to reports.
The news was first shared on Twitter by the former emcee's cousin, Don Champion.
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 ❤️ https://t.co/UMQeXJsWmf— Don Champion (@DonChampionTV) July 29, 2020
The Roots later confirmed the news with a statement.
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 and innovation as one of the most gifted MCs of all time. We ask that you please respect his family in our time of mourning pic.twitter.com/NVHtb2CFWP— The Roots (@theroots) July 29, 2020
The circumstances surrounding Malik B.'s death were not immediately known, but the Philadelphia hip-hop community and others shared tributes on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon.
Heartbroken to hear of the passing of Malik B, one of the greatest MC's to ever come from this city. He had his troubles for sure, but dude inspired a whole generation of us to touch the mic. Myself included. May he rest peacefully.— Reef The Lost Cauze (@LostCauze) July 29, 2020
RIP to a real one and to someone whom I’ve known for a long time. Malik B we love you. Fly on my friend— BLACK LIVES MATTER (@CosmoBaker) July 29, 2020
rip to the great Malik B, this one hurts— Mr. Green (@greenhiphop) July 29, 2020
"I fascinate as I assassinate, it's no task"— BLUEPRINT (@printmatic) July 29, 2020
Malik B's verse from "I Remain Calm" had so much style in it. RIP. pic.twitter.com/Hrh0kAxKYY
Damn we lost another good one way too damn soon smh. My condolences to his family & friends💯RIP Malik B🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼The 1st 4 #TheRoots albums he was on & his “Unpredictable” project prod by @greenhiphop were incredible man pic.twitter.com/bppN4G9W5I— Nick Gauder(Fadeaway) (@fadeawaybarber2) July 29, 2020
RIP to Malik B from the Foundation aka the 5th Dynasty aka The Legendary Roots Crew! 🙏🏾— Battle Rap Stats (@BattleRapStats) July 29, 2020
215 hold your head ... my heart hurts😢 pic.twitter.com/JOfPACsdq7
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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
On the 2002 album "Phrenology," Black Thought wrote the song "Water" to honor Malik B.'s founding contributions to The Roots and the lasting personal influence he left.