On December 30, The Juice Crew - Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane, MC Shan, Kool G Rap and the rest of the Queensbridge-based collective - will reunite for two nights only for the first time since 1988 at New York City's famed B.B. King's and New Jersey's Wellmont Theater. Biz was the Crew's most goofball member, with his humorous persona showcased on classic cuts like "Make the Music With Your Mouth, Biz" and the mega-hit "Just A Friend."

Markie talked to The Boombox about The Juice Crew's place in history,  the current political climate and the importance of giving America's current president-elect a chance to prove himself.

The Boombox: For people who may not understand the essence of hip-hop or how the culture and sound used to be in the '80s and '90s, what is it for you guys to be coming together and give the new generation a "history lesson"?

Biz Markie: You know, I look at us like the second tier of hip-hop. You had Grandmaster Flash and Cold Crush, and then you had Run-DMC and me...It’s a big thing to see us all alive. The only one I wish was here is Mister Magic – rest in peace, he passed away – cause he was the juice of the Juice Crew.

At what point do you think the way people perceived hip-hop changed?  When did the demand change?

Well, what you gotta look at is we got older. Us getting older, we’re never going to look at it as our kids, or kids, do. You gotta think, the Drakes and them probably listen to us a little bit but the Soulja Boys and [everybody] listen to [music] from 2000 and up. They’ve heard of us, but we’re like Little Richard and them compared to them...I’m glad I have a record like a "Just a Friend" where it was a crossover record.

And that’s what you really need these days to be a hit.

People used to tell me, "Yo, you sold out." And I’m like, I didn’t sell out, I just made a popular record – that’s what a pop record is. I didn’t make it go pop; it just went there.

Of course Mario remade the song years ago, but have you ever thought about remaking the song with a modern touch?

Nah. You don’t mess with perfection. Do you remake Kool-Aid? No. Do you remake Pepsi? They might have different versions of Pepsi – like Diet Pepsi – but you can’t remake it. That’s like remaking McDonald’s French fries - you like McDonald’s French fries as they are. You don’t want no crinkle, you don’t want them to be curly; you want McDonald’s French fries to be McDonald’s French fries. Some things you just can’t change. It is what it is.

Once a song is a smash, it’s hard to remake it, and do it justice.

It’s like, no matter how many people do “La Di Da Di” over, nobody’s gonna sound like Slick Rick. There’s never gonna be another “Sucker MC's” that Run DMC made; there’s never gonna be another Grandmaster Flash; there’s never gonna be another Furious Five. We’ve just out done ourselves. There’s never gonna be another Snoop; there’s never gonna be another Eazy-E or Ice Cube; there’s never gonna be another Tupac or Biggie – no matter how many great the rappers are – there’s never gonna be another Jay-Z.

Do you think artists nowadays are too focused on trying to recreate the legends instead of being themselves?

I don’t think they’re trying to be us, I think they’re trying to be whatever’s “in” now. If there’s a Future, there’s people trying to sound like Future. If there’s a Drake, there’s people trying to sound like Drake or there’s people trying to sound like Lil Wayne instead of – just be yourself. Like me, I’m never gonna change me. There’s nobody that’s gonna be another me than me.

Well, you are a passionate and outspoken, especially when it comes to issues affecting various communities. What do you think about the recent meeting between Kanye West and Donald Trump?

Here’s how I look at that – what is it gonna hurt for [Kanye] just to go meet with [Trump]? How does anybody know [they weren’t] friends in the beginning? Another thing, you don’t know what the meeting was over. Does anybody know what he met him for? [And] another thing about the Trump situation, he ain’t even president yet. So if he ain’t even president yet, why is everybody in an uproar? No matter what, he’s still elected president. You gotta give this man a chance. You gotta give this man a chance because it’s succeed or fail. I’m a Democrat. Look at how much [President] Obama did for us, and people still criticized him…I’m not saying [Trump] knows what he’s doing or he don’t know what he’s doing, but you need to give him a chance.

But based on the popular vote, don't you think people are waiting for him to fail? 

As long as you’ve been living, when did something a president did ever affect you? Never. And that’s Obama, that’s the Clintons, that’s Reagan.

Regardless of his direct effect, Trump is so extreme and unorthodox –

It’s time to do things unorthodox. We’ve been doing things the same way, and stuff’s been the same way. Tell me something that has changed. The gas goes up, the gas goes down; the gas goes up, the gas goes down; food goes up, good goes down; food goes up, food goes down – I don’t care what president is in there.

It doesn’t scare you that this man holds the nuclear codes in his hand?

Okay, he’s not the only one [with the codes]…Right now, you have to take care of your family, take care of people that you’re with and believe in God and believe that things is gonna be alright.


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