Malik B., rapper and founding member of one of hip-hop's most prominent bands, The Roots, has died at the age of 47.
The Philadelphia native, born Malik Abdul Basit, met fellow Roots MC Black Thought at Millersville University, one of several events that led to the group's formation in 1987. Malik B. stuck with The Roots up through the group's 1999 Grammy-winning album, "Things Fall Apart." After leaving the Roots, the rapper remained close to the group, appearing as a guest on several albums afterwards while also working on solo music.
In the Roots' song, "Water," released on 2002's "Phrenology," Black Thought reminisces on his and Malik B.'s time at Millersville, including this key line:
"We went to Millersville to get away from gun clappin'"
The cause of death has not yet been released, but the band and many others on Twitter confirmed the news.