The best SWAG/merch item from an artist was…
…the Diabolical Biz Markie doll sent by Biz Markie himself! It resides in my office to this day, and it is the one thing EVERYONE asks me about when they visit; I can see their eyes focusing on it during our conversation. Of course there’s a story behind it, so here goes…
The day started like any other, phone calls, emails, meetings and random visitors, until one email caught my attention. My good friend “Chrisite Z” Pabon, who organizes the DMC battles and Park Jams for New York DJs, mentioned that her friend Biz Markie was in need of some needles for his DJ sets. I told her to have Biz give me a call so we could discuss what needles he preferred to use, and moments later Biz was on the line. At first, it was kind of weird… I mean, I’m an old school hip hop fan and Biz was definitely one of my favorites growing up. He changed the game. He was always this larger than life character to us suburban kids. Honestly, who didn’t scream along to “Just A Friend” when it can on the radio?
Anyway, Biz and I discussed needle choices for a bit and he mentioned a few upcoming gigs and a recurring role he had on TV’s Yo Gabba Gabba! a show that quickly became a favorite of my daughter’s. I told Biz I would send him some needles to get him through his gigs and he proceeded to provide his address, making certain to mention that his real name is Marcel Hall. I told him I already knew that, to which he quickly replied, “No you don’t.” I said, “Sure I do, I’m a fan from way back Biz.” Now sounding surprised on the other end of the line, Biz replied, “Well, since you’re a big fan, I’m gonna send you a big surprise!”
The needles went out to Biz, but no big surprise had made its way to my office. Perhaps he was just messing around or the big surprise fell through. No big deal, plenty of things to surprise me in this job. I left my office momentarily one day and upon my return, there was a a tall rectangular box resting on my desk. I opened it up and within minutes the phone rang with Biz on the other line. “Did you get the doll?” he asked. Examining the contents, it was clear that my big surprise was this 18″ Biz Markie action figure. I started laughing and told Biz that this was the most interesting thing I’ve ever received in the mail from anyone ever. It’s quite possibly the most interesting thing I will EVER receive in the mail from ANYONE.
As you can tell from the picture, the doll was packaged in a gigantic cereal box (no cereal unfortunately), complete with nutritional value. The doll itself came equipped with a three finger ring, booger-pickin’ finger, an SM58 mic, Biz Markie hat and beat boxing sounds if you gave Biz a squeeze!
This is truly a conversation piece and most definitely the BEST SWAG/merch item from an artist! Biz and I continue to keep in touch and it’s always one of my favorite phone calls to receive. You never know what Biz has in store for you!