Malik Abdul Basit, one of the founding members of The Roots, has died at the age of 47. The group confirmed the sad news to Rolling Stone, but no cause of death was provided.
“It is with heavy hearts and tearful eyes that we regretfully inform you of the passing of our beloved brother and long time Roots member Malik Abdul Basit,” The Roots said in a statement.
“May he be remembered for his devotion to Islam, His loving brotherhood and His innovation as one of the most gifted MCs of all time. We ask that you please respect his family and extended family in our time of mourning such a great loss,” the statement concluded.
The legendary hip hop group formed in 1987 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Questlove and Black Thought both attended the same high school. They later met Basit while they were performing on the streets of Philly. The trio moved to London and released Organix, their 1993 debut studio album.
Basit remained with the group through four albums. Things ultimately fell apart with the group and he allegedly struggled with substance abuse. After going solo, Basit released an album titled Street Assault in 2005 and an EP called Psychological in 2006.
Black Thought also took to Instagram to pay tribute to his former bandmate. “We made a name and carved a lane together where there was none,” he captioned the post. “We [resurrected] 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.”
He continued, “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.”
The REVOLT team, would like to send our thoughts and prayers to Malik B’s family and friends at this time.