Malik B, founding member of The Roots, dies aged 47

Hip-hop group pay tribute to ‘one of the most gifted MCs of all time’ following his death

Founding member of The Roots, Malik B, has died aged 47. Photograph: The Roots/Twitter

Founding member of The Roots, Malik B, has died aged 47. Photograph: The Roots/Twitter

 

Hip-hop group The Roots have paid tribute to former member Malik Abdul Basit following the rapper’s death at the age of 47.

Basit, who performed under the name Malik B, was part of the band during their formative years. No cause of death was announced.

A statement shared on The Roots’ social media pages said: “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.

“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.”

Basit joined Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter in his native Philadelphia and the band were originally known as the Square Roots.

They shortened their name in 1992, moved to London and released their debut studio album Organix the following year.

Basit departed the group at around the turn of the millennium and released music as a solo artist, while also making appearances on Roots albums.

The Roots serve as the house band on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

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