Malik B., Former Member of The Roots, Dead at 47

Malik B., a former member of iconic hip-hop group The Roots, has died at the age of 47. Malik's death was announced by Roots members Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson and Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter in a post on Instagram. Malik's cause of death was not immediately reported.

In their statement on Instagram, Questlove and Black Thought wrote: "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." Malik was a founding member of the band — alongside Questlove and Black Thought — and appeared on the band's first four albums. He eventually left the group in 1999.

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Over on Twitter, a full-band statement was issued by The Roots. "We regretfully inform you of the passing of our beloved brother and long time Roots member Malik Abdul Basit," the statement read, repeating much of the aforementioned tributes by Questlove and Black Thought.

After leaving The Roots, Malik went on to release a solo album, Street Assault, in 2005. He then dropped a follow-up EP in 2006, titled Psychological. Almost a decade later, in 2015, Malik partnered with producer Mr. Green on the collaborative album Unpredictable. In speaking about his time working with Malik, Mr. Green was quoted as saying: "Malik would show up at the studio with a garbage bag of rhymes and go through them. Some of them were old and weathered, literally falling apart. [...] Then he would just start recording the song in one take: intro, verses, chorus. It was nothing like I'd seen before."

Since the sad news of Malik's death was reported, many of his peers and fans have taken to social media to express their sympathy and memorialize the later rapper. "Rest in Peace to Malik B of The Roots," Tweeted rapper Blueprint. "'Step into The Realm' from Things Fall Apart was always one of my favorite performances from him."