Just a Friend

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For the Mario song, see Just a Friend 2002.
"Just a Friend"
Single by Biz Markie
from the album The Biz Never Sleeps
Released September 21, 1989 (1989-09-21)
Format 7", cassette single, CD single
Recorded 1988
Genre Hip hop, comedy hip hop
Length 4:00
Label Cold Chillin'/Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Biz Markie, Bert Berns (aka Bert Russell),
Producer(s) Biz Markie
Certification Platinum (RIAA)
Biz Markie singles chronology
"The Vapors"
"Just a Friend"
"Spring Affair (Spring Again)"
Biz Markie's "Just A Friend" from The Biz Never Sleeps

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"Just a Friend" is a 1989 comedic hip hop song by rapper Biz Markie, in which he alternates between rap and singing. It is Markie's most successful single, reaching the #9 position on the Billboard charts.

The song interpolates the 1968 song "You Got What I Need" recorded by Freddie Scott, whose basic chord and melody provided the base for the song's chorus and made it famous. Due to the widespread popularity of the song and its influence on Pop culture, Biz was classified by VH1 as a one-hit wonder, and "Just A Friend" was ranked 81st on VH1's 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders in 2000, and later as number 100 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop in 2008.[1] Karma, a staff record producer for Cold Chillin' Records, told Vibe magazine in 2005 that he produced the single, but never received credit.[2]

Music video[edit]

The music video, directed by Lionel C. Martin, chronicles the rapper/singer's woman problems.[3][4] At the climax of the video, Biz Markie's character stumbles upon a girl he was trying to date - not his girlfriend - kissing another man she had previously referred to as "just a friend".[5] It also includes a memorable scene of Biz Markie singing the chorus dressed as Mozart in 18th-century clothing with a powdered wig in a candlelit room while playing the piano. This scene was likely inspired by the video for the 1986 hit "Rock Me Amadeus" which was in turn inspired by the 1984 film Amadeus.

A clip of the music video was played in the Beavis and Butt-head episode "Home Improvement", with Butt-head imitating the singing of the refrain. During the scene in which Biz Markie is dressed as Mozart, Butt-head describes him as looking "like that dude on the dollar", alluding to George Washington and the powdered wigs depicted in many portraits of the time.

Cover versions, use in samples and popular culture[edit]

On December 3, 2012, Austin Mahone released "Say You're Just a Friend", a song interpolating the chorus of "Just a Friend" featuring Flo Rida.

Jeff Goldblum, Jimmy Fallon, and Biz Markie sang the song on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and were backed up by Fallon's house band, The Roots. The episode aired on Thursday, November 11, 2010.[6]

It was later interpolated by Mario as "Just a Friend 2002", whose video Biz Markie made a cameo in as well as appearing on the alternate version (remix). Mario's version is quite different, as the story is changed from a man who discovers his girlfriend has been cheating on him, to a story about unrequited love.

"Just A Friend" was also covered by Kidz Bop, by progressive-jam band Umphrey's McGee, and by Tally Hall who play "Just a Friend" at nearly all of their concerts.

The Malay hip hop duo Too Phat used the chorus and the piano in their song "Just a Friend" found on their 2001 album Plan B.

50 Cent's song "Best Friend" contains re-sung quotes from "Just a Friend."

A cover of the song appears on the October 2009 re-release of Lissy Trullie's EP Self-Taught Learner, recorded with Adam Green.

Big B covered "Just a Friend" on the Subnoize Souljaz 2009 album Blast From the Past.

Pharrell of The Neptunes and N.E.R.D. samples the line 'let me tell you a story of my situation' (which appears in the first verse of "Just a Friend"), at the end of his song 'You Can Do It To' on his album In My Mind.

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia made use of the song in the episode "Dennis and Dee Go On Welfare".

It is the walk-up music for Boston Red Sox first baseman, Kevin Youkilis.[1] Occasionally, in the Fenway Park bleachers fans will break out singing the chorus over and over again, inserting "Youuuuuuuk" for the "You", in "You've got what I need." A television advertisement for Herb Chambers Companies, an auto dealership group in the Boston area, features Biz Markie (in his Mozart attire from the original music video) performing the song with Youkilis and Herb Chambers.[7]

The song is used as a soccer chant by Sporting Kansas City and United States men's national soccer team fans as a song for defender Matt Besler.[8]

It has also been a soccer chant used by LA Galaxy supporters group, the LA Riot Squad, since 2008.

Reema Major sampled the song on her mixtape, 15 Going On 25.

Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon incorporated the song into a rap duet.[9]

Markie came up with a Facebook-themed rendition of the song for Jimmy Kimmel Live!.[10]

Fan sections Area 55 and G2zone of the NBA Indiana Pacers sing the song at the end of home victories.

Your Favorite Martian covered this song.

Local hip hop duo Too Phat from Malaysia covered this song featuring VE in 2001.[11]

The song was featured in the soundtrack for Saints Row IV. The song also plays during Pierce's Loyalty mission, with the President, Pierce, and later Zinyak singing along. In the credits, the entire cast of the game sings along, including Michael Clarke Duncan, who died before he could finish his role. As a sort of tribute, the song closes with Michael alone singing the final verses.

A version of the song with changed lyrics sung by Snoop Dogg and Kate Upton was used in a commercial by Hot Pockets.[12]

English band Summer Camp covered the song during their Autumn 2013 tour.

The song was played in the first Daria TV movie, Is It Fall Yet? when the campers at the OK to Cry Corral are making lanyards.

In Flight of the Conchords, the duo reference the song and music video during the song "Hurt Feelings".

Jean Grae and John Hodgman performed a cover of the song on an episode of the Minnesota Public Radio comedy show Wits.[13]


External links[edit]