TUNE UP: Biz Markie made the Mazda MPV a hip-hop symbol

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.

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15 Responses to TUNE UP: Biz Markie made the Mazda MPV a hip-hop symbol

  1. NIgel says:

    Cerwin Vega & Pioneer casette player. (Some good amps).

  2. Myron Vernis says:

    Is it just me or does anyone else suddenly feel the urge to track down Biz Markie’s original MPV?

  3. Cesariojpn says:

    So wait…..

    Toyota has the Alphard/Vellfire, Nissan has the Elgrand (upmarket Quest), so what does Mazda have that is similar?

  4. nthuZis1 says:

    In da hood MPV stood for My People’s Vehicle. Wu Tang Clan had a shout to the MPV in their hit C.R.E.A.M. (cash rules everything around me). “Rolling in MPV’s every week we make 40 g’s”.

  5. Alan says:


    Biz is cool but Raekwon in C.R.E.A.M. doesn’t even get an honorable mention? Quoting from perhaps the greatest song from the greatest hip hop group of all time:

    ” Rollin in MPV’s, every week we made 40 g’s!”

  6. Negishi no Keibajo says:

    There IS acreason for the Koreisha mark… ?

  7. damo_johnson says:

    We were doing MPV’s here in DC first. The 300zx’s, MPV’s, Honda Accord wagons, BMW’s etc.

  8. Thomas Webster says:

    Man, I’m trying to find a poster of this for my friend, but I’ve looked everywhere and nothing!

    EBay is fresh out as well. Know any place I should look?

  9. f31roger says:

    I’ve always loved seeing these in person. I’ve seen a few AWD versions in the junkyards of NorCal… totally sucks.

    I know they weren’t powerful and sucked on gas mileage, but I’d definitely love to have one to mess around it.

    RIP Biz… true hip hop classics and I wish hip hop would honor artists more within the scene. Like nobody cares until someone passes away, then people want to try and say something. Do music with dudes while they are around.

  10. Melvin Walker says:

    No lies told.

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