‘All Up in the Biz’ Review: Showtime’s Biz Markie Documentary

5/5 - (10 votes)

Biz Markie, an iconic figure in the world of hip-hop and American music, passed away in 2021 at the age of 57, leaving a void in the industry. Sacha Jenkins, in his new documentary “All Up in the Biz,” pays tribute to Markie, who was not only a talented DJ and rapper but also a gifted beatboxer. The film, using a combination of animation, comedic sketches, and dramatic reenactments, captures Markie’s unique and playful nature. Although the documentary avoids showing his prolonged hospitalization before his death, it features his wife, Tara Hall, portraying the loving care she provided to her husband, with Markie being represented by a bemused-looking puppet.

The movie portrays Markie, whose real name was Marcel Theo Hall but was commonly known as “Mark,” as a clown prince whose sense of humor helped him overcome a challenging childhood. It also highlights the parallel growth of hip-hop in the Bronx and Long Island, with Markie serving as a prominent representative of the latter. In his early days, Markie honed his lyrics and delivery skills while collaborating with the Juice Crew, a collective based in Queens, before releasing his first EP.

In terms of commercial success, Markie proved to be clever and ahead of the game, even if his quirks were not immediately embraced. Bernard Alexander, an entertainment veteran, reminisces about discarding the demo cassette of Markie’s distinctively amusing track, “Just a Friend,” by tossing it off a hotel balcony. Surprisingly, the song became Markie’s breakthrough single, propelling him into the spotlight as a pop star.

Close friend and rapper/record producer Rakim candidly admits to feeling a twinge of jealousy towards Markie for his unwavering love for hip-hop. Rakim states, “You get a little jealous when someone loves hip-hop more than you do.” Markie’s passion for the genre left a lasting impact on those around him.

“All Up in the Biz,” running for approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes, is an intimate portrayal of Biz Markie’s life and career. It can be viewed on various Showtime platforms. The documentary offers viewers an insightful and affectionate tribute to an artist who will always be remembered for his unmatched talent and playful spirit. Biz Markie’s presence in the music industry will be sorely missed, but his legacy lives on through his groundbreaking contributions to hip-hop.

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