LOVABILITY DOESN'T RANK high on the priority list for most rappers. Many try to be the best, the hardest, the richest, and the most famous, but few emcees strive to be straight lovable. Snoop once had a few drops of lovability that were quickly squandered; Will Smith wants to be loved so bad that it makes me want to punch him. Who's left? Flava Flav? Method Man? André 3000? Even the Dalai Lama agrees that "love" would be the wrong emotion here.

But then there's Biz Markie, who seems like he would be the coolest guy in the world to teach you how to beatbox, to go out for Chinese with, or to wake you up in the morning (which is now possible, thanks to the Biz Markie alarm clock—"Turn the Party Out!"). For being one of the best beatboxers of the '80s and '90s and a remarkable good rhymer and hook writer, Biz has never given the impression that he takes the rap game with anything more or less than respectful playfulness. Whether he's rapping about his favorite shopping mall and picking boogers, singing Bee Gees tunes to Prince Paul for Handsome Boy Modeling School, dressing up like a mad scientist on The Biz Never Sleeps album cover, kicking it on all of the Beastie Boys' best records, or laying down a stupendous dance beat like "Mudd Foot," Biz always shows up like he's ready to get silly. And since most rappers act like they'd like nothing more than to kick my ass, I'd say that makes the Biz pretty damn lovable.