Founding Member of The Roots, Malik B., Dies at 47

by Taylor Handberry Staggers

July 30, 2020

Rapper Malik B. has died at the age of 47. News of his passing was confirmed in a statement posted to The Roots‘ Instagram account Wednesday night.

“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 Baset,”

Born Malik Abdul Basit, the late MC met Questlove and Black Thought in college during the late 80s. This threesome went on to form The Roots in 1987. Basit remained a member of the legendary rap group from its early albums such as Organix, until his departure in 1999 after the release of the classic hit Things Fall Apart. After his departure from the group, Malik B. released a solo album titled Street Assault.

His former group mates each released their own personal tributes:

View this post on Instagram

📸 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 post shared by Questlove Froman, (@questlove) on

At this moment no cause of death has been released. We will provide updates as they become available.

Join us in sending love and condolences to Malik B.’s family and loved ones.

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