The Hip Hop community weathered a crushing blow on Wednesday (July 29) when it was revealed former member of The Roots Malik B had died. His cousin Don Champion confirmed the news via Twitter on Wednesday morning.
Now, The Roots frontman/co-founder Black Thought has reacted to the news on Instagram with a touching tribute to his fallen friend. The post, which includes a throwback photo of Thought, Questlove and Malik, is eloquently written and touches on the profound impact Malik had on Thought’s life.
“We made a name and carved a lane together where there was none,” he wrote in the caption. “We resurrected a city from the ashes, put it on our backs and called it Illadelph. In friendly competition with you from day one, I always felt as if I possessed only a mere fraction of your true gift and potential. Your steel sharpened my steel as I watched you create cadences from the ether and set them free into the universe to become poetic law, making the English language your bitch.”
Thought confessed he really wanted to put Malik on a different path at one point but ultimately understood he was forever married to the streets.
“I always wanted to change you, to somehow sophisticate your outlook and make you see that there were far more options than the streets, only to realize that you and the streets were one… and there was no way to separate a man from his true self,” he continued. “My beloved brother M-illitant. I can only hope to have made you as proud as you made me. The world just lost a real one. May Allah pardon you, forgive your sins and grant you the highest level of paradise.”
The Roots also shared the same photo to the band’s official Instagram account with the caption, “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.”
Details surrounding Malik’s death haven’t been disclosed. But according to a Facebook post from rapper Jakk Frost, he’d struggled with substance abuse in the past, although it’s unclear if that had anything to do with his death.
“IDK HOW HE PASSED SO PLEASE DONT ASK ME,” he wrote in all caps. “I JUST KNO HE LIVED A ROUGH LIFE BATTLING ADDICTION .. HE WAS MY FRIEND N WE MADE SOME DOPE MUSIC TOGETHER BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY WE PRAYED TOGETHER AS MUSLIMS OBSERVING OUR DAILY PRAYERS.”
Malik was 47.