By Bill Vaughan
The life and rhymes of Biz Markie are front and center in “All Up In The Biz,” directed, co-written and executive produced by Sacha Jenkins (“Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics,” “Louis Armstrong’s Black and Blues”), which debuts Aug. 11 on Paramount+ and Showtime.
The documentary feature, which premiered at the Tribeca Festival last month, is the definitive story of the late, great rapper who is best known for his mega hit “Just a Friend.”
Featuring never before seen footage, musical interludes, animation, puppetry and interviews with prominent figures in hip hop — from Fat Joe to Doug E Fresh and Nick Cannon — the film traces how Markie created a lane for himself in hip hop while also helping his friends, many of whom (Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, De La Soul, E.P.M.D.) would become legends in their own right.
Crowned “The Clown Prince of Hip Hop,” he was a beatbox wiz who was known for his comical rhymes and generally whimsical ways. The Long Island native’s gift swiftly propelled him through hip hop history along with a few bumps (like the groundbreaking sampling lawsuit he was wrapped up in).
“Biz Markie is the pure essence of hip hop. He believed in, he lived it, he harnessed its powers,” Jenkins said. “Most people don’t know that he used those powers to power up some of the culture’s greatest poets and then some. I was fortunate to meet with Biz when he was alive so to have the opportunity to bring him back to life now that he isn’t here … it’s a special film.”
HARDCORE JOLLIES: Two-time Emmy-nominated actor and comedian Tracy Morgan (“30 Rock,” “Saturday Night Live,” “The Last O.G.”) is heading his first Max stand-up special to begin streaming Aug. 17.
“Tracy Morgan: Takin’ It Too Far” was taped live from the Wilbur Theater in Boston. Grateful and hyped, the comedian owns his set and unabashedly tackles topics such as dating in his 50s (along with the unexpected side effects that comes with it), his dysfunctional family, attempting to reverse gentrification in Brooklyn, and the very public 2014 car accident that left him with multiple broken bones, a traumatic brain injury and a substantial settlement.
Executive produced by Emmy and Grammy winner Rikki Hughes, the seasoned comedy veteran who has also been part of some of the most successful animated films in recent years, such as “Spirited,” “Scoob!,” “Rio,” “Rio 2,” and “G-Force,” is showcased in his most edgy and fearless special yet.
Now if he could only get started on that long-rumored Louis Armstrong biopic.
MOONMAN ALERT: Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Doja Cat, Karol G, Nicki Minaj and Shakira were announced as Artist of the Year nominees for the 2023 MTV Video Music Awards to be broadcast live Sept. 12 from Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center. Fans can vote for their favorites on the MTV website through Sept. 1.
CLIPPETTES: The 24th annual Long Beach Jazz Festival is set for Aug. 11-13 with Will Downing, Pieces of a Dream, Najee, Kenny Lattimore, Mike Phillips, Marcus Miller, Maxi Priest, Brian Simpson, Jackiem Joyner, Jessy J, Phil Perry, Marion Meadows, Norman Brown and many more at Rainbow Lagoon Park …
Also on Aug. 11, 12-time Grammy and 10-time Latin Grammy winner Rubén Blades with the Roberto Delgado Big Band hits the Hollywood Bowl, while Seth MacFarlane croons and strikes up His Big Band at Vibrato Grill & Jazz …
DJ Battlecat & Friends take the stage Aug. 12 for a free show at Grand Performances at California Plaza. While later, Tone Loc is at The Canyon – Agoura Hills; Afroman kicks it at Whisky A Go Go; 22-year-old soprano Randall Gray makes her L.A. concert debut at Zipper Concert Hall; Gypsy Kings are at The Greek; Quiet Cannon hosts Mack 10 and Tha Eastsidaz; and Drake’s It’s All A Blur Tour sets up at The Forum from Aug. 12-16 …
The Pharcyde & Souls of Mischief with Tha Alkaholiks hold court at The Novo on Aug. 13 as jazz saxophonist Isaiah Collier with his band The Chosen Few grace the Miracle Theater; and Los Lonely Boys play The Greek …
The Grammy Museum welcomes Killer Mike to the intimate Clive Davis Theater on Aug. 15 for a performance and conversation about his creative process, career and to celebrate his newest album, “Michael.” A performance will follow. Also that evening, Wesley Ritenour with Dave Grusin, Hadrian Feraud and Lee Ritenour are at Vibrato Grill & Jazz …
Gladys Knight and Peabo Bryson open their songbooks Aug. 16 at the Hollywood Bowl; while double-platinum-selling South London artist Cat Burns sings at The Roxy; and The Airborne Toxic Event starts a two-night stand at El Rey Theatre …
Cut Chemist spins Aug. 17 at Venice West; while Isaiah Rashad headlines The Bellwether.
TASTY QUIP: “This film couldn’t be more timely, but it also closely connects to much of the history that I’ve explored in my past work — from the Civil War-era slave patrols, the advent of Jim Crow at the turn of the century, the uprisings against police brutality in the latter half of the 20th century to the many acts of police violence against African Americans that we’ve witnessed in the media in recent times.” – Emmy Award-winning and Oscar-nominated filmmaker STANLEY NELSON on his latest documentary “Sound of the Police” streaming on Hulu
TC ON TV: Aug. 11 – “Heart of Stone” (Netflix): Gal Gadot (“Wonder Woman”) stars as an intelligence operative for a shadowy global peacekeeping agency in this action film with Sophie Okonedo, Jamie Dornan and BD Wong. “Asteroid City” (Peacock): Wes Anderson’s latest film arrives with an all-star cast including Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Wright, Scarlett Johansson, Bryan Cranston, Jeff Goldblum and more. “Good Morning America” (ABC): Fat Joe & Remy Ma, Busta Rhymes & BIA live from Central Park. “Secret Celebrity Renovation” (CBS): JB Smoove returns to Plymouth, N.C., to help restore his childhood home, which once belonged to his grandmother and has now become the spot for family gatherings. However, when home improvement contractor Rob “Boston Rob” Mariano (“Survivor”) and interior designer Sabrina Soto (“Design Star,” “Trading Spaces”) determine that the house has deteriorated beyond repair, the team opts for a plan B that marks a first in the series’ three seasons. “Hip-Hop 50 Live” (Mass Appeal YouTube): From Yankee Stadium, this livestream will show a farewell performance by Run-D.M.C., Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, T.I., Common, Lil Kim, Slick Rick and many more. “BET Her Live” (BET Her): Da Brat, Lil’ Mo, 702, and MC Lyte
Aug. 12 – “Kings of BBQ” (A&E): Follows Emmy-nominated actor, producer and comedian Anthony Anderson (“black-ish”) and renowned actor, producer, and comedian Cedric The Entertainer (“The Neighborhood”) as they embark on a cross country barbeque adventure to learn all they can about the best techniques, flavors and traditions while also working to launch their own brand, AC Barbeque. “Hip Hop Treasures” (A&E): LL Cool J and Ice T lead field collectors and museum curators in searching for lost rap memorabilia such as The Notorious B.I.G.‘s iconic jersey from the “Juicy” video, Flavor Flav‘s clocks, DMX‘s Aaliyah car, and more. The found items are earmarked for the soon-to-open Universal Hip Hop Museum in The Bronx, NY.
Aug. 13 – “Billions” (SHO): The final season begins. “Celebrity Family Feud” (ABC): Real Housewives of OC vs. Real Housewives of Atlanta. “$100,000 Pyramid” (ABC): Nico Santos vs. Lauren Ash and Nicole Byer vs. Jermaine Fowler “Running Wild with Bear Grylls” (NGC): “Rita Ora in the Valley of Fire”
Aug. 14 – “Love & Hip Hop: Miami” (VH1): Fifth season premiere.
Aug. 16 – “Miguel Wants To Fight” (Hulu): A coming-of-age comedy about a teen who enlists his three besties to help him get into his first ever fist fight. With Dascha Polanco (“Orange is the New Black”) and Imani Lewis (“Farewell Amor”).
Aug. 17 – “Killing It” (Peacock): To help promote the second season of this sitcom starring Craig Robinson as a snake-wrangling entrepreneur, earlier episodes are now streaming on YouTube and TikTok. “The Upshaws” (Netflix): More episodes of the raunchy sitcom with Mike Epps, Wanda Sykes and Kim Fields.
END QUOTE: “In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction.” – AUDRE LORDE
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment columns in the nation, serving nearly one million weekly readers. Bill Vaughan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, via Twitter @tastyclips, or Instagram @tasty_clips.