Malik B., founding member of the Roots, dead at 47

Malik B., founding member of the Roots, dead at 47

Malik B., the Philadelphia artist who was a founding member of the Roots, has died, the group announced.

A cause of death has not been revealed. Malik B. was 47 years old.

“It is with heavy hearts and tearful eyes that we regretfully inform you of the passing of our beloved brother and long time Roots member Malik Abdul Basit,” the Roots’ Questlove and Black Thought said in a statement. “May he be remembered for his devotion to Islam, His loving brotherhood and His innovation as one of the most gifted MCs of all time.  We ask that you please respect his family and extended family in our time of mourning such a great loss.”

Malik B. joined the first iteration of the Roots and started performing with Questlove and Black Thought in Philadelphia and New York City in the late 1980s. He was an official Roots member for the group’s first four albums—Organix (1993), Do You Want More?!!!??! (1995), Illadelph Halflife (1996), and Things Fall Apart (1999)—before departing during the recording of 2002’s Phrenology.