We are in 1989. Every man since the dawn of time knew the scenario all too well. You like girls, you think things are going well and she likes you too. Somehow you find out that there is another guy in the picture. Your keen senses begin to tingle, the red flag alerts go up, and you decide to call it.
“Yo, who was that?” “
“Oh, he’s just a friend”
Whaaaaaaat. Don’t give me that, don’t even give me that.
Biz Markie took this all too familiar situation and made it one of the most popular songs in rap history. Befire’s “Just A Friend” the “Clown Prince of Hip-Hop” already had a string of underground hit singles – including “Nobody Beats the Biz” and “Vapors” – when his friend zone anthem “Just a Friend” hit.
“Just a Friend” would eventually become one of rap classics, appearing in television series, commercials, video games and talk shows. The famous fake anthem-level chorus continues to make people laugh, but what people don’t realize and what the rapper recently said Weekly entertainmentis that he never intended to sing it himself. Not only that, but the song was based on a true story. Biz Markie said that “Just a Friend” is based on real personal experience, but he wanted to censor the name of his past crush so as not to get him into trouble.
I was talking to this girl – the first girl I have ever spoken to. And every time I called in California, a guy would pick up and give him the phone. I’d be like, “Yo, what’s up [with him]? ”She was like,“ Oh, he’s just a friend. He’s no one. And I came over a week earlier just to surprise her, and she is kissing someone’s tongue – and I’m here. So instead of fighting, I put the pain in the pen and wrote it down.
The famous hook is taken from the classic Freddie Scott, “You Got What I Need”
Biz: What happened was I was looking for those Lee Dorsey drums [from “Get Out Of My Life Woman”], and I told TJ Swan in ’86 that if I ever found them, I would go platinum. So in ’88 when I was making the album Grand Wizard Theodore took me to Danny Dan [The Music Man]’s house, and he played records, and he played rhythm. So I traded him a Barbra Streisand record for drums, and he started playing 45 more, [which was] the Freddie Scott. I didn’t put them both together, but he played the Freddie Scott. So I gave him $ 200 for the 45, even though the 45 was only worth a dollar. When I got to the studio I had the beat and was trying to lock in Freddie Scott’s 45 with the drums, but it didn’t freeze because both were live. So a guy named Shane Favor, me and he had a keyboard and we stayed up until eight in the morning to find the right piano sound. And when me and him played the [melody] once it was over.
Biz used the piano medley and the line phrasing, “You’ve got what I need,” but obviously changed the subject. He also incorporated those drums he wanted so badly.
Hall of Fame song by a classical artist. Rest in peace.