Just a Friend
|"Just a Friend"|
|Single by Biz Markie|
|from the album The Biz Never Sleeps|
|Format||7", cassette single, CD single|
|Label||Cold Chillin'/Warner Bros.|
|Writer(s)||Biz Markie, Freddie Scott|
|Biz Markie singles chronology|
|Problems playing this file? See media help.|
"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 Pop single, reaching the #9 position on the Billboard charts.
The song interpolates the 1968 song "You Got What I Need" (1968) by singer/songwriter 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. Karma, a staff record producer for Cold Chillin' Records, told Vibe magazine in 2005 that he produced the single, but never received credit.
The music video, directed by Lionel C. Martin, chronicles the rapper/singer's woman problems. 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". 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 and use in samples
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.
The Malay hip hop duo Too Phat used the chorus and the piano in the their song "Just a Friend" found on their 2001 album Plan B.
Futuristic Sex Robotz covered "Just a Friend" in the song "Checking Out" on their debut album Hotel Coral Essex.
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. 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.
Reema Major sampled the song on her mixtape, 15 Going On 25.
Your Favorite Martian covered this song.
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.
English band Summer Camp covered the song during their Autumn 2013 tour.
- Kondo, Toshitaka (May 2005). "Karma". Vibe. p. 56.
- "Oh Besler Song". Sporting Kansas City Chants. fanchants.us. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
- Nordyke, Kimberly (July 19, 2011). "Justin Timberlake, Jimmy Fallon Get Their Rap on Again in 'History of Rap, Part 2' (Video)". The Hollywood Reporter.