A founding member of rap group The Roots, Malik Abdul Basit, has passed away. The death of Basit, who was known by his stage name Malik B., was confirmed Wednesday by his former band members.
The Roots released a statement on Twitter uplifting their “beloved brother” for his gifted artistry. No cause of death has been released in the passing of the 47-year-old, according to CNN.
"We regretfully inform you of the passing of our beloved brother and long time Roots member Malik Abdul Basit," the band tweeted Wednesday. "May he be remembered for his devotion to Islam and innovation as one of the most gifted MCs of all time."
We regretfully inform you of the passing of our beloved brother and long time Roots member Malik Abdul Basit. May he be remembered for his devotion to Islam and innovation as one of the most gifted MCs of all time. We ask that you please respect his family in our time of mourning pic.twitter.com/NVHtb2CFWP
— The Roots (@theroots) July 29, 2020
Basit’s last major project as a member of The Roots, Things Fall Apart, is a fan favorite and an iconic piece of hip-hop history. The album sold over 1 million units domestically and earned a Grammy for the hit song "You Got Me" featuring Erykah Badu.
According to NPR, Basit first met Questlove and Black Thought while attending Millersville University in Pennsylvania in the 90s. In 1993, the trio released its debut album, Organix. But it wasn’t until the group's third album, Illadelph Halflife, that The Roots found mainstream appeal and success.
Fans and supporters took to Twitter to show their appreciation for the life he lived and the way he performed music.
Proceed was the first Roots joint that I heard on college radio (94'/95'). At that particular moment of time, that was the dopest shit I had heard, I wore that damn tape out! Condolences to every Roots Crew Member!! RIP Malik B, Prayers to your family brotha. pic.twitter.com/I3w0BeFPrA
— Taxi (@TaxAnonymous) July 29, 2020
My deepest condolences. This is terribly sad. I was listening to Do You Want More?!!!??! this morning and thinking about how great his contributions to the group were before even seeing this news. My thoughts are with him & those that love him.
— Hallis Blaney (@HallisB) July 29, 2020
This one hurts. My condolences to his Family and Friends keep your Head up. #MalikB was very underrated and I'm glad he blessed us on the 1st four albums. @blackthought
@questlove much love I'm sorry hold it down for him #RIPMalikB
— kareemslick (@kareemslick) July 29, 2020
Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon “surely we belong to Allah, and to Him we return”. May peace and blessings surround brother Malik, his family, and the Roots team at this time and always.
— gogogadgetSOUL (@GodricGates) July 30, 2020
Black Thought shared a heartfelt tribute to his fellow artist 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. 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,” he wrote. “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 b***h.”
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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
Although Basit left the band in the early 2000s, he made several guest appearances on The Roots' later work, including three songs that appeared on the group’s seventh album, Game Theory, in 2006.