This year, one of the legends of hip hop passed away, BIZ MARKIE. “You Got What I Need” was my favorite of his hits. I have many memories of Biz, but my favorite happened on a cruise ship off the coast of Puerto Rico.

The SOULTRAIN CRUISE 2013 was a once in a life time event. Two thousand party goers, Patti LaBelle, The Spinners, George Duke,Jeffrey Osborne, Jody Watley, Biz Markie, Cuba Gooding & The Main Ingredient and me. Sun, sea, fun and funk. What a grand time we shared.

I was the musical director for Cuba Gooding Sr. and The Main Ingredient and after our set we decided to hit the night club/bar to celebrate our successful performance. The room was packed and jamming. I shook hands with the master himself, George Duke and everything was alright with the world. The featured DJ was Biz Markie, who I had not seen since 1986-87. I turned to Cuba and said Biz was my student back in the day. Cuba laughed out loud and said you always say you know someone. He made a beeline to the DJ booth to check the validity of my boasting. As he whispered to Biz my claim, the music stopped abruptly.

Biz shouted “Hold Up!! Wait A Minuet!! MR ABEL!! My High School music teacher is IN THE HOUSE!!!! Where is he!!!!” The expression on Cuba Gooding’s face was priceless.

May they, George Duke, Cuba Gooding Sr. and Biz Markie REST IN PEACE!