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Just a Friend – Biz Markie

Some one-hit wonders are only one-hit wonders on the pop charts. Marcell Hall (better known as Biz Markie) is a perfect example. Between 1989 and 1994, Markie charted four songs in the top 7 positions on the Billboard Rap charts. But he only hit the Top 40 once with his classic “Just a Friend.”

I remember the first time I ever heard the song very well. One of the whitest, least rhythmic guys I know who sang in an A Capella group and regularly expressed his hatred for “those stupid rap songs” sat behind a piano and bellowed out the chorus from “Just a Friend” to an adoring crowd.

You, you got what I need
But you say he’s just a friend
And you say he’s just a friend, oh baby
You, you got what I need
But you say he’s just a friend
But you say he’s just a friend, oh baby
You, you got what I need
But you say he’s just a friend
But you say he’s just a friend

That’s how far Biz Markie had crossed over into white, suburban America with this playful ode to his girl troubles.

Listen to “Just a Friend” by Biz Markie

Click to read the “Just a Friend” lyrics

Click to hear more hip-hop one-hit wonders

Looking back on that moment, the only way it could have been ever better is if my friend has sat at the piano dressed like Mozart and wearing a white powdered wig and formal Eighteenth Century clothing bellowing out the song by candlight as he pounded the piano. Just like Biz Markie did it in the most memorable moment from the “Just a Friend” video.

“Just A Friend” reached #9 on the Billboard Top 40 in 1990. Anyone who was listening to music at that time remembers Biz Markie well even though only a handful can remember his name.

Of course, VH1 weighed in with their opinion of Biz and “Just a Friend” and named it #81 on their 81st on their list of the 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders. They also pegged it a #100 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.

As far as I’m concerned, “Just a Friend” remains one of the most charming hip-hop one-hit wonders of all time. I put it in the same category as “The Humpty Dance” by Digital Underground that also hit the Billboard Top 40 at #11 in 1990.

Buy Just a Friend by Biz Markie

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I'm an obsessive music collector, cataloger, commenter and trivia nut. Sometimes I'm even a listener. One-hit wonders have always been a guilty pleasure.

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One Response to "Just a Friend – Biz Markie"

  1. […] little mashup of Grizzly Bear’s advert-friendly Two Weeks and Biz Markie’s “one hit” (?!) Just a […]

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