The Cold Chillin' class clown, Biz Markie debuted with Goin' Off, one of the most unrelentingly amusing sets of productions and performances of anyone during hip-hop's golden age. Markie was an oversized teenager with lyrical talents (if not finesse) far beyond his years, and material opposed to most every rapper around -- trading in nightclubs for the mall and striking a pose for picking your nose. Yes, the rhymes were often rudimentary or obvious (and many of the best were actually written by Big Daddy Kane), but his infectious optimism and winning flair (plus the masterful production of Marley Marl) carried Biz Markie far beyond the status of a novelty act. His first single, "Make the Music with Your Mouth, Biz," introduced him as a human beatbox, but he went on from there to encompass a straight-ahead but hilarious game of the dozens ("Nobody Beats the Biz"), a tribute to his favorite haunts around Brooklyn ("Albee Square Mall"), and a track with some wry cynicism about the price of fame ("Vapors"). The rangy Marley Marl cued up some classic backing tracks for these songs, with any hint of braggadocio counteracted by his carnival-esque production sense. Since a 1995 reissue on Cold Chillin' substituted new Marley Marl remixes for a few of the originals, it's best to spring for the 2001 two-fer Goin' Off/The Biz Never Sleeps.
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AllMusic Review by John Bush