One of the founding members of the Hip Hop group, The Roots, passed away according to his cousin Don Champion.

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“Mourning my beloved cousin today,” wrote Champion on Twitter. “He was so talented and had a huge heart. I still remember when he and The Roots were starting out. He’d give me and my dad their cassette tapes to listen to. I miss you already, Malik.”

Don didn’t specify his cause of death.


The Roots released a statement saying: “It is with heavy hearts and tearful eyes that we regretfully inform you of the passing of our beloved brother and long time Roots member Malik Abdul Baset. May he be remembered for his devotion to Islam, His loving brotherhood and his innovation as one of the most gifted MCs of all time. We ask that you please respect his family and extended family in our time of mourning such a great loss.”

Malik B. was considered to be an integral part of the group. He appeared on the first four albums, but like every group, they had internal problems and he eventually parted ways. The Philly emcee made guest appearances on later records and also released a solo project called Street Assault in 2005.