Prince Markie Dee, aka Mark Morales, best known as a member of pioneering hip-hop group The Fat Boys, died on Thursday, according to the group’s manager. He was 52 years old and no cause of death has been revealed.
“Forever in my heart. Prince Markie Dee was more than a rapper; he was one of my best and closest friends,” manager Louis Gregory wrote on Twitter. “My heart is breaking today because that I lost a brother. I will always love you Mark and I will treasure everything you taught me. Tomorrow is your birthday, swing my big brother.
Mark Anthony Morales teamed up with Darren Robinson (The Human Beatbox) and Damon Wimbley (Kool Rock Ski) as The Disco 3, before becoming The Fat Boys. They started in 1983 by winning a talent show at Radio City Music Hall
They became a mainstay of early hip-hop, bringing beatboxing into the mainstream and culminating with the 1987 platinum album. To crush and a key element of the humorous film Troubles.
Among the group’s successes, there was Can you smell it ?, Jail House Rap, and The fat boys are back. Their greatest success has been their To crush cover of Annihilate with the Beach Boys giving them their biggest hit, reaching No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Later the cover version of the group of Twist with Chubby Checker from Come back hard again reached number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart.
Dee did not finish in his post-Fatboys career. He launched a solo career and wrote and produced songs for Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez and Mary J. Blige, including his hit single True love, his first top ten hit. Alone, his 1992 album Release had number one success with Typical reasons (Swing My Way).
Later in his career, he became a popular radio host at WMIB in Miami, and also had a show on SiriusXM’s Rock the Bells station, Prince Markie Dee’s Show.
“They were figuratively (without weighty jokes) the greatest act in hip hop at one time,” Questlove wrote on Instagram. “Like the first act that showed this culture can have real international legs… They were so dope we just took them for granted. They did dope routines and dances, the albums went gold and platinum. I’ve done movies, TV shows, and commercials. They explored territory for the first time that today feels like * yawning * on a Tuesday. “
No information was immediately available on survivors or memorial plans.