Prince Markie Dee, one third of the pioneering hip-hop group the Fat Boys, died on Thursday, the group’s manager, Louis Gregory confirmed. He was 52. No cause of death has been given.
“Forever in my Heart. Prince Markie Dee was more than a rapper; he was one of my very best and closest friends,” Gregory wrote on Twitter. “My heart breaks today because I lost a brother. I’ll always love you Mark and I’ll cherish everything you taught me. Tomorrow is your birthday, swing my way big bro.”
Born Mark Anthony Morales on February 19th, 1968, he teamed up with Darren Robinson (the Human Beatbox) and Damon Wimbley (Kool Rock Ski) and performed under the name The Disco 3 before later becoming the Fat Boys. The group formed in the Eighties and by the end of the decade they had become one of rap’s premier pop culture ambassadors with the simultaneous release of their platinum-selling fourth album Crushin’ and their breakout comedy film Disorderlies in the summer of 1987. The trio popularized beatboxing and coupled with their skills and sense of humor, they were essential to bringing rap music to the mainstream.
Their first two albums, 1984’s self-titled debut and 1985’s The Fat Boys Are Back, were produced by rap legend Kurtis Blow and included hits, such as “Can You Feel It?,” “Jail House Rap,” and “The Fat Boys Are Back.” However, it was their Crushin’ cover of “Wipeout” with the Beach Boys that gave them their biggest hit, reaching Number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Their cover version of “The Twist” with Chubby Checker from Coming Back Hard Again hit Number 16 on the Hot 100 chart.
Following the Fat Boys’ breakup, Dee launched a solo career and also produced songs for artists including Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez and Mary J. Blige. His 1992 album Free garnered a Number One hit with “Typical Reasons (Swing My Way).”
He moved into radio later in his career, serving as a drive-time host WMIB in Miami, and had his own show, The Prince Markie Dee Show on SiriusXM’s Rock the Bells station.
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