Review Summary: On his debut, Biz Markie earns his nickname of “Clown Prince of hip-hop”
There are MC’s who make you think with their lyrics; criticisms of society, of the music business or observations of life in the ghetto. Some talk about jewelry, nice cars and sexual conquests. Some rappers don’t really say much of substance but they mesmerize you with their lyrical acrobatics and great flow. Then there is Biz Markie. It would be any rappers dream: get one of the best beat makers in the business to produce your entire album, then get one of the best rappers to write your lyrics, that would be a can’t miss recipe for success.
With Marley Marl’s production, Big Daddy Kane’s ghostwriting and Biz Markie’s personality and charisma, “Goin’ Off”
is an entertaining listen. Lines like [i] “Then try to get illy with me the inhuman, because I’m like boomin’, Reagan is the pres but so was Harry Truman” are Biz’s idea of political rap and shenanigans like “Pickin’ Boogers” are oddly compelling, hard to believe that someone as flashy and smooth as Big Daddy Kane came up with lyrics like “Just last night, when Kane was gettin' ready, I slipped a little green one inside his spaghetti.”
With the maturity of a nine year-old, Biz delivers these juvenile but hilarious lines to open the album and lets you know you’re in for something different… very different.
One of Biz’s best known tracks was also written by Kane, the classic “Vapors.” About how he and his buddies used to be ignored but now that they’re popular, people want a piece of them: “Damn it feels good to see people up on it.”
Delivered with his trademark mush mouthed flow, this track earned Biz mad respect in hip-hop circles. The track “Biz is Goin’ Off” contains a verse that should be highly recognizable to hip-hop fans:
“Ha ha ha ha ha! Check out this bizarre
Rappin style used by me, the B-I-Z
Emm-A-R-K-I with the E and, you will be agreein
A brother ain't a brother unless he is say like G'n”
That verse was used by the Notorious B.I.G. for “What’s Beef” and many other lines form this album have been “borrowed” or sampled proving the staying power of “Goin’ Off.”
A complaint about this album though is that a few of Biz’s songs are not included in their original versions but rather as “Special Marley Marl Remixes” such as: “Make the Music With Your Mouth Biz,”(where he displays his beatboxing skills)“Biz Dance” and “Nobody Beats the Biz” these versions , although good, are just missing something that the originals had, mainly “Make the Music With Your Mouth Biz” which sounds like a completely different track.
As far as production, Marley Marl was at the height of his powers and provides an appropriately funhouse-esque backdrop for Biz’s crazy rhymes like the James Brown-sampling “Vapors” or the “Fly Like an Eagle” sample on “Nobody Beats the Biz.” Biz’s DJ Cool V also adds to “Vapors” with his superb scratching and his showcase track “Cool V's Tribute to Scratching.”
Biz Markie may have faded into obscurity long ago but “Goin’ Off”
is a testament to his abilities and although there is a drop off between the Big Daddy Kane-penned first half of the album and the Biz’s own second half rhymes, his energy and charisma remain constant as well as Marley Marl’s consistent production. His track “Just a Friend” may have later gotten him mainstream exposure but true hip-hop fans know that “Goin’ Off”
was the pinnacle for the “Clown Prince of hip-hop.”
Biz is Goin’ Off