Malik B., the rapper, singer, and founding member of The Roots has passed away, as confirmed by the group’s official social accounts. Bandmates Black Thought and Questlove have also shared touching tributes on social media.
“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 band’s statement read. “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 such a great loss.”
Details surrounding Malik B.’s passing are unclear and the cause of death has yet to be revealed.
Malik Abdul Basit was part of the Philadelphia-based group from its early beginnings circa 1987. Alongside Questlove, Black Thought, and Leonard “Hub” Hubbard, Malik B. appeared in four albums: Organix (1993), Do You Want More?!!!??! (1995), Illadelph Halflife (1996), and Things Fall Apart (1999).
In 1999, Basit departed amid group tensions detailed in the song “Water” from The Roots album Phrenology, which talks about his struggles with addiction.
Today Black Thought and Quest Love honored the memory of their friend Malik B. in solemn tribute posts.