*Can you believe it’ll be 26 years in June since Biz Markie released his classic tune “Just a Friend?”
In an interview with The Huffington Post, the DJ/rapper shared a few little known tidbits on the track, which has been used in various advertising campaigns and supplied the chorus to Austin Mahone’s 2012 hit “Say You’re Just A Friend” since its release in 1989. According to the Markie, it took him five years to record “Just a Friend” in light of him trying to find the song’s hard-hitting drums.
Fortunately, the rhymesayer found what he was looking for, thanks to his close friends and hip-hop pioneers Grand Wizzard Theodore and Danny Dan the Beatman.
“I was looking for the drums since ’84, but I never knew the name of them,” Markie told HuffPost about the song, which samples Freddie Scott’s “(You) Got What I Need.” “Grand Wizzard Theodore brought me to Danny Dan the Beatman’s house. So we were playing around and made a tape.”
“All of sudden, Danny calls me and says ‘Is this the record you were looking for?’ And he played [Freddie Scott] over the phone,” he continued. “So I drove over straight from Jersey with this other dude from Trenton, and I traded him Barbra Streisand‘s ‘A Star is Born’ for that record, and I gave him $200 for the ‘You Got What I Need’ record … I knew if I found those drums it was going to be a hit.”
Biz’s search for the right drums was just one of a few things that may have changed the way “Just a Friend” turned out. The rapper revealed that he originally reached out to R&B singers Keith Sweat, Al B. Sure, and fellow Juice Crew member T.J. Swan to sing the song’s famous chorus, but ultimately decided to use his own voice due to scheduling conflicts.
As for the longevity of “Just a Friend,” Biz compared it to classics like Slick Rick‘s “Lodi Dodi” while labeling it as “just one of those records that’s a good record that you can’t get tired of hearing.”
“Whether it’s the hook, whether it’s the words. One of them good, good records,” he said. “You don’t get tired of hearing [Maze & Frankie Beverly’s] ‘Before I Let Go.'”
According to HuffPost, the entertainer is also promoting healthy living as a brand ambassador for Zevia soda.
The secret to his recent 140-pound weight loss lies in a balanced diet, exercise and consuming the sugar-free and zero-calorie cola. Despite the change in lifestyle, Markie admitted that it all came after a health scare from discovering that he had diabetes.
“When I went in the hospital for dehydration three or four years ago, I had to get 15 to 16 bags of IV,” he confessed to HuffPost. “So I said, ‘If I want to live, I will have to change my life format.'”
For a look at the “Just a Friend” video, check out the video below: