“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.”
Basit, Malik B shirt who performed under the name Malik B., was part of the Philadelphia-based group from its early beginnings to about 1999, when he departed amid group tensions detailed in the song “Water” from The Roots album “Phrenology.” Written by Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, the track speaks to Basit’s struggles with addiction.
Basit went on to produce solo material and, several years after his departure, also appeared on several tracks on Roots albums.
Malik Abdul Basit (aka Malik B.), a rapper, singer and longtime member of The Roots, died Wednesday. He was 47. The Roots announced Basit’s death in a statement on the group’s verified Twitter account but did not provide a cause of death.
“We regretfully inform you of the passing of our beloved brother and long time Roots member Malik Abdul Basit,” the statement read. “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.
On the Roots’ seventh studio album, Game Theory, released in August 2006, Malik B returned to the group, appearing on three tracks, including the title “Game Theory” (track 3, listed as 116 on North American releases), “In The Music” (track 5, listed as 118 on North American releases), and “Here I Come” (track 8, listed as 121 on North American releases).
The nature of his relationship with the group was indicated by the fact that his tracks were billed as “featuring Malik B”. In the liner notes, the Roots thanked Malik B, adding the statement: Malik B for Men and Women t-shirt. Malik B is also featured on two of the tracks on the Roots’ 2008 album Rising Down, “I Can’t Help It” and “Lost Desire”