Malik B., iconic founding member of The Roots, has died at the age of 47.
The renowned Philadelphia hip-hop and neo-soul group shared an official statement on social media. "We regretfully inform you of the passing of our beloved brother and long time Roots member Malik Abdul Basit," the statement reads. "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."
As one of its founding members, Malik B was vital to The Roots' early success, appearing on the award-winning group's first four studio albums Organix, Do You Want More?!!!??!, Illadelph Halflife, and Things Fall Apart. In 1999, he left The Roots to pursue a solo career before releasing his debut album Street Assault in 2005.
The Roots rapper Black Thought also shared a poignant tribute to the late MC on Instagram, writing that, together, they "ressurected [sic] a city from the ashes, put it on our backs and called it Illadelph."
"In friendly competition with you from day one, I always felt as if I possessed only a mere fraction of your true gift and potential," the post continues. "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. I always wanted to change you, to somehow sophisticate your outlook and make you see that there were far more options than the streets, only to realize that you and the streets were one... and there was no way to separate a man from his true self."
At the time of writing, a cause of death has not been made public. EDM.com expresses its sincere condolences to the family, fans, and loved ones of Malik B.