Yesterday the sad news of Malik B.’s death was confirmed (July 29). The Roots co-founder and Philadelphia native was just 47 years old.
As the hip hop community mourns this great loss, rappers, producers and collaborators have shared tributes or memories of Malik on social media. The late MC’s group mates — Black Thought and Questlove — remembered their friend on Instagram.
“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,” Black Thought captioned a photo of the three of them.
“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. “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.”
In his own post, Questlove shared a light-hearted story about Malik helping him level-up his fragrance oil game while he was still working as an intern at Ruffhouse Records.
“Malik told me the particular fragrance I dug was a mixture of 3 import oils from Saudi Arabia (his parents often taught school there) my dad was already on his cynic ‘fool me once….’ bag with Malik from a previous sale: ‘that boy tried to hustle me with Blue Nile that wasn’t all the way Blue, I know Johnson’s baby oil rebranded when I smell it’),” he wrote.
Social media tributes were also shared by mega-producer Just Blaze, Run The Jewels’ Killer Mike, R.A. The Rugged Man and many more. See some remembrances of Malik from fans, friends and collaborators on Twitter below. Rest in Peace.
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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
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by @tdoteric A lighter tale of Malik Abdul Basit As a true Bol from philly you know that one’s oil game HAD to be on point. I came in this game rockin oils since age 9. Most of yall joke about me smelling like Breakfast (thx Kravitz clan) but long before my vanilla combo mastery my true graduation from basic Frankincense & Myrrh morphed into new exotic philly jawns like “Mecca Musk” & “Somali Rose” & “Egyptian Musk” & yeah…..”Money On the Street” & “Hug My Neck Aphrodisiac” Malik introduced me to that world. Even before Malik was in the Roots —-he was my oil guru. IYKYK...there is no panic like the last drop of oil w no re-up in the future. I been bugging Malik for my “$OTS” re-up. Paged him 911 (ask your parents kids) he was hard to catch but I knew I had some leverage bait this time: these were my last days interning at #RuffhouseRecords. I was everyone’s plug for all free cd’s/lp’s & especially Kriss Kross posters for anyone’s younger sibling or cousin Tim Dog’s sophomore Do or Die just came out (his “I Get Wrecked” single w KRS made brief noise for a sec) & I had 6 songs from the not yet released Cypress Hill “Black Sunday” lp——that was just enough to garner a “word? BET!” confirmation from Malik to tell me that him & Mussa (remember the cat dozing off watching TV in our “Distorion” vid? Him) would scoop me in a half hour. Confused I thought it was gonna be an even exchange (having paid him upfront weeks ago at a show I thought he was gonna drop it off——ha ha ha yeah ok They arrive to my west philly house and then Malik breaks the news to me: we gotta take a trip to “Norf” to get the oils. I wasn’t planning on this. But oh well. It was 3pm. Malik told me the particular fragrance I dug was a mixture of 3 import oils from Saudi Arabia (his parents often taught school there) my dad was already on his cynic “fool me once….” bag with Malik from a previous sale: “that boy tried to hustle me with Blue Nile that wasn’t all the way Blue, I know Johnson’s baby oil rebranded when I smell it”)——Malik told me we’d have to run to grab 2 oils & then West Oak Lane for the other oil, & then to South Philly so he can mix em together. Uh (checks Swatch) ok.
A major reason why rap was so good in the 90s is that artists realized that the rap group was the platonic form. Malik B was a perfect example of that. Always reliable for 16 bars of heat, blessed w/ a great voice and cadence. A heroic role player on several classics.— Otto Von Biz Markie (@Passionweiss) July 29, 2020
Rest in power to the God Malik B.— Crime Rhyme Houdini (@JustBlaze) 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
The God, Malik B is worthy or praise. https://t.co/bOdP6xiCMC— Killer Mike (@KillerMike) July 30, 2020
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
Rest In Peace MALIK B of the Roots... another HipHop king gone too soon. I was privelaged to have rocked stages with him and made a dope song together. He was a good brother and an influential Philadelphia rap legend. RIP— R.A. the Rugged Man (@RAtheRuggedMan) July 29, 2020
I’m not sure it this will translate. But for heads around my age, where I’m from and similar; Hiphop saved our lives. What the roots means to us, what #malikB means to the culture is imesurable. https://t.co/NnizF9lX9t— Prop (@prophiphop) July 29, 2020
REST IN PEACE THE M ILITANT!! MALIK B!!— THE KID MERO (@THEKIDMERO) July 29, 2020
Malik B Rest In Power. Sending Love Out To His Friends & Family— Ev-Ah-Din-Sss (@Evidence) July 29, 2020
I really hate that this is the way a lot of people are hearing about Malik B for the first time— Open Mike Eagle (@Mike_Eagle) July 29, 2020