Biz Markie has passed away at the age of 57. In his honor, we are republishing this story from August 18, 2017. RIP (April 8, 1964 – July 16, 2021).
Nineties hip-hop had no shortage of love for Japanese cars, but one that typically isn’t mentioned in the same breath as Lexus and Acura is the Mazda MPV. In some circles, though, it was apparently quite the coveted machine.
According to Ambrosia for Heads, in a recent interview on Questlove Supreme, 90s rapper Biz Markie was taken with the Mazda van after sitting and conversing in Rich Porter‘s. “The next day, I went and got two of ’em,” Biz says, with the money he made from his hit “Just a Friend.” He kept the black one for himself, customizing it with BBS rims and a $12,000 sound system, and gave the blue one to his friend Cool V.
Apparently, there was even some question about who was first to popularize the MPV in hip-hop, Biz Markie or DJ Premier, whose van was described as “a legendary listening station for rappers.” The interview seems to settle the debate once and for all. It was Biz Markie, and you can shout out the MPV in his song “Bad By Myself.”
These days, it wouldn’t be too hard to recreate a period correct example from the burgeoning days of rap. MPVs are dirt cheap on Craigslist. The challenge would be finding the proper vintage stereo equipment.