Malik B., who is a founding member of The Roots, is dead at 47.
Malik Abdul Baset, one of the early members of The Roots, has died at the early age of 47. In a statement released by current original members Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Baset’s friends shared, “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. May he be remembered for his devotion to Islam, His loving brotherhood and His innovation as one of the most gifted MCs of all time. We ask that you please respect his family and extended family in our time of mourning such a great loss.”
Coming together in Philadelphia in 1987, Questlove and Black Thought formed the group originally named Square Roots after meeting at the High School for the Creative and Performing Arts. The pair soon began collaborating with Baset who was known for his lyrical skills around South Philly, and the group that became known as The Roots went on to put out four albums with Baset as an integral part of their sound. According to a recent article in Variety, Malik left the group in 1999 due to substance abuse issues.
Despite personal setbacks, Baset continued to make music as an independent artist, releasing Street Assault in 2005 and an EP titled Psychological in 2006. Taking to Instagram to share a picture of the original three members, Black Thought wrote, “We made a name and carved a lane together where there was none.” He continued his heartfelt sentiment, remembering the friendly competition that existed between the two of them and the desire he once held to pull Malik away from a street lifestyle. He finished his tribute, praying, “May Allah pardon you, forgive your sins and grant you the highest level of paradise.”
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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 Basit. May he be remembered for his devotion to Islam, His loving brotherhood and his innovation as one of the most gifted MCs of all time. We ask that you please respect his family and extended family in our time of mourning such a great loss.
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
Mourning my beloved cousin today. He was so talented and had a huge heart. I still remember when he and The Roots were starting out. He'd give me and my dad their cassette tapes to listen to. I miss you already, Mailk. #RIP ?? https://t.co/UMQeXJsWmf
— Don Champion (@DonChampionTV) July 29, 2020