Today I’ve decided to show just how much of a sheep I truly am and jump aboard the ‘throwback’ express. Although I’ve uploaded a few tracks that have been fluttering about for a number of years, ‘Just a Friend’ shows me venture into the Eighties for the first time and, given that I was born in ’89, possibly the last time.
Biz Markie was both big in the Eighties and, big in the Eighties. The rotund rapper enjoyed a string of semi-hits in the American charts before breaking into the top ten with ‘Just a Friend’, the only single off of his second album ‘The Biz Never Sleeps’. The New Yorker’s career failed to take off after the massive hit and although he later worked with The Beastie Boys, Will Smith and The Rolling Stones amongst others, ‘Just a Friend’ represents the four minute pinnacle of Marcel Theo Hall’s musical career, and what a pinnacle it is.
The entire track is effortless, the tinkling keys and lazy beats reflect his lackadaisical approach to his music whilst the lyrics are painfully accessible, portraying a story of unrequited love which most men can empathise with. The simplicity of the entire structure is beautiful, no pyrotechnics, no guns, no drugs, just unadulterated hip-hop. Markie’s bars are as slow and benign as his song structure, but that’s just it, there is a hypnotism to the lethargy, ‘Just a Friend’ brings you the same joy as a seeing a larger man enjoying a powerful strut, it’s just cool and as this is an Eighties themed review, I feel I can say that. Not only is this track an absolute jam, it also provides us all with an important life lesson, as Biz would say ‘Dont ever talk to a girl who says she just has a friend’.