Actor and comedian Cedric the Entertainer brought the energy of late rap legend Biz Markie as the host of the 73rd annual Primetime Emmy Awards opened the ceremony with a television-inspired rendition of Markie’s signature hit, “Just a Friend.”
On Sunday evening (Sept. 19) at the Event Deck at LA Live, the ceremony began with the Soul Man actor watching a live broadcast of his introduction as the host of the night during which the veteran jokester expressed his affinity for television and how it’s impacted his life over the years before heading onstage for the live performance.
Over the original “Just a Friend” beat Cedric kicked off the night with a rhyme about how watching television is one of his favorite past-times before passing the mic to LL Cool J who spits bars about the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black community’s fight to “take Emmys from Europeans.”
A slew of entertainers join in on the fun with Tracee Ellis Ross, Anthony Anderson, Sterling K. Brown, and others singing, “Oh TV, you, you got what I need, but you say he’s just a friend,” a flip of the original hook. Rapper Lil Dicky drops couplets about being a fan of Seinfeld and showing love to CBS, while actress Rita Wilson makes a surprising appearance that proves where her son, Chet Hanks, may have gotten his own rhyme skills from.
Biz Markie, who was known as “the clown prince of hip hop” for his comedic brand of music, passed away on July 16 at the age of 57. While his cause of death has not yet been revealed, the rapper, DJ, and actor had been battling type 2 diabetes for several years prior to his death.
Watch Cedric the Entertainer’s Biz Markie tribute at the 2021 Emmy Awards below: