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Rapper Malik B., early member of 'The Roots,' dies at 47

Malik B. was a long-time member of 'The Roots' and performed on the group's first four albums.

Philadelphia rapper Malik B., who was a long-time member of the iconic American rap group "The Roots," has died at the age of 47

"We regretfully inform you of the passing of our beloved brother and long time Roots member Malik Abdul Baset," The Roots tweeted Wednesday afternoon. "May he be remembered for his devotion to Islam and innovation as one of the most gifted MCs of all time. We ask that you please respect his family in our time of mourning."

Baset was a member of the group in the early years when they were gaining fame and becoming a household name.

He stayed with "The Roots" for years after their founding in the late 1980s and started out performing with Questlove and Black Thought in Philadelphia and New York in the late 80s. He was an official member of "The Roots" for their first four albums, according to Pitchfork

Baset wasn't an official member of the collective by the time "The Roots" became the house band for "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon," according to Entertainment Weekly.

During a 2015 interview with Arena, Baset said he was never fired from the group, but also didn't quit either. According to Arena, Baset was a founding rapper with "The Roots" crew. 

After leaving "The Roots," Baset released a solo-album in 2005 and an EP in 2006, according to VARIETY. 

He was known as playing a critical role with the group, pushing the envelope with his lyrics and verses. 

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