Malik B, Philadelphia hip-hop artist and founding member of The Roots, has died. The Roots write in a social media note, “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 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.” His cause of death has not been revealed. Malik was 47.
Malik B first joined The Roots in the late ’80s in the first lineup of the group, performing with Questlove and Black Thought. He stayed with the group for over a decade, performing on the group’s albums Organix (1993), Do You Want More?!!!??! (1995), Illadelph Halflife (1996) and Things Fall Apart (1999), eventually departing the group before the release of 2002′s Phrenology.
Though the reasons for the split between Malik and The Roots was never explained, he did appear on subsequent albums, including 2006′s Game Theory and 2008′s Rising Down.
Photo courtesy of The Roots’ Twitter