Photo Credit: Ebet Roberts/Redferns
Prince Markie Dee of The Fat Boys Has Died
Prince Markie Dee, who was one-third of the Fat Boys, was known for being one of the first Latin rappers to have high visibility.
Prince Markie Dee, legendary Puerto Rican rapper, producer, and radio host, has died. He was 52 years old. The cause of death has not been revealed. The news was first reported by AllHipHop.
Markie Dee, who was born Mark Anthony Morales, is best known for his role in the Fat Boys, one of hip-hop's first pop-rap groups. As a Puerto Rican, Dee was also one of the first Latin rappers to have high visibility.
The Fat Boys were one of hip-hop's first major success stories. The group was comprised of Darren Robinson (aka Buff Love or The Human Beat Box), Damon Wimbley (aka Kool Rock Ski), and Morales. The three expertly mixed rhyme skills, beat-boxing ability, and humor to create some of the most accessible hip-hop of the time. The first three albums, which were produced by Kurtis Blow, were all successful and birthed hits like "Jail House Rap," "Can You Feel It?," and "The Fat Boys Are Back."
But things went to another level in 1987 when they released the platinum-selling Crushin', which was a top 10 hit and featured the biggest single of their career —"Wipe Out," a rock-inspired song that featured an appearance from The Beach Boys.
During this time The Fat Boys weren't just rappers they were celebrities, appearing in Swatch commercials and starring in movies like Krush Groove (1985) and Disorderlies (1987). They also famously headlined The Fresh Fest — one of hip-hop's first major tours — and were successful touring Europe back when rappers couldn't leave The States. The Fat Boys' final album came in 1989 with the release of On and On. They split up, and Prince Markie Dee went solo while Buff Love and Kool Rock Ski put out Mack Daddy. (In 1995, Buff died of cardiac arrest. He was only 28 and reportedly weighed over 400 pounds.)
Prince Markie Dee would go on to have a relatively good early '90s run. He produced early songs for Mariah Carey and Mary J. Blige — including "Real Love" — and, in 1992, he put out his debut solo album, Free, which featured the very Heavy D-inspired minor hit "Typical Reasons (Swing My Way)."
Throughout the years, Markie Dee would produce songs for artists like Jennifer Lopez, Mark Anthony, Ariana Grande, and more. He would transition to radio in Miami and, before he died, hosted a show on Rock the Bells Radio for SiriusXM. After his death was revealed, they put out a RIP message on their Instagram.
The love for Prince Markie Dee has started to pour out on social media. There have been tributes from Questlove, Fat Joe, El-P, Mad Skillz, and more.