The founding member of the Philadelphia rap group died Wednesday at the age of 47
The Roots announced via social media on Wednesday that founding member Malik B., born Malik Abdul Basit, had died unexpectedly at the age of 47.
The rapper appeared on the Philadelphia crew's first four albums, his laid-back charms evident on songs such as "Mellow My Man," an early tag team effort with fellow MC Black Thought.
“Your steel sharpened my steel as I watched you create cadences from the ether and set them free into the universe to become poetic law, making the English language your bitch,” Black Thought wrote yesterday in tribute to Malik on Instagram.
Malik's time in the Roots ended prior to 2002 album Phrenology, which includes "Water," a stirring dedication on which Black Thought documents the pair's long history, as well as Malik's increasingly unpredictable behavior and struggles with substance abuse. “You gotta walk straight, master your high/Son, you’re missing out on what’s passing you by,” Black Thought raps in the chorus.
The song, a live performance of which you can watch below, hits even harder today.