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Malik B, Founding member of The Roots passed away at 47

Rapper Malik B died suddenly today (July 29). He was with The Roots up until a drug addiction caused him to temporarily leave the group, only to return as a featured member later on. Black Thought wrote the song “Water” from Phrenology about the situation.

“It was a couple things, lil’ syrup, lil’ pills
Instead of riding out on the road you’d rather chill
I know the way a pleasure feel, I’m not judging
But still I’m on a mission, yo, I’m not buggin’
I got fam that can’t stop druggin’, they can’t sleep
They can’t stick to one subject, they can’t eat
It’s people steady comin’ at me out in the street
Like ‘Riq, yo, what up with your peeps? It gets deep…”

-Black Thought from “Water” off of the Phrenology album

In the wake of his death, many of his rap peers have come forward with stories about the late rapper. Questlove and Black Thought both paid tribute on social media. Bandmate Jaguar Wright took issue with how Malik B was treated during his addiction and called out several other artists including Common and Erykah Badu.

Some of Malik B’s best work can be found on Illadelph Halflife and Things Fall Apart. Peep him take the anchor verse on “Clones” below.

Read: Scott Storch was a founding member of The Roots

Read: Jay-Z helped The Roots clear the Radiohead sample on “Atonement”