The emcee of the hitmaking ’80s trio went on to have a career as a solo artist, producer, songwriter, and radio personality..
Prince Markie Dee, the rapper of the Brooklyn hip-hop trio Fat Boys, has died. The group’s manager Louis Gregory confirmed the news. “Prince Markie Dee was more than a rapper; he was one of my very best and closest friends,” Gregory wrote. “My heart breaks today because I lost a brother. I’ll always love you Mark and I’ll cherish everything you taught me.” He was 52.
Born Mark Morales, the Puerto Rican emcee formed Fat Boys originally under the name the Disco 3 with Damon Wimbley (aka Kool Rock-Ski) and Darren Robinson (aka the Human Beat Box) in 1983. Their first album, 1984’s Fat Boys, was produced by Kurtis Blow.
The group’s music achieved widespread commercial success. Their 1987 album Crushin’ went platinum, and three of their other albums have gone gold; their biggest hits were covers of “Wipeout” and “The Twist.” They parlayed their success into a brief film career, starring in 1985’s Krush Groove and 1987’s Disorderlies.
Dee followed his time with the Fat Boys as a solo artist and a songwriter and producer. He had a solo hit with “Typical Reasons (Swing My Way)” and collaborated with artists like Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, and Mary J. Blige. He was also a radio personality who hosted The Prince Markie Dee Show on SiriusXM’s Rock the Bells.
Artists including Questlove and Fat Joe paid tribute to Prince Markie Dee and Fat Boys, noting the influence they had on hip-hop culture. “I mean yeah now we all take for granted that traditional music really isn’t needed to cold rock a party,” Questlove wrote. “But to see THESE cats rock it back then???!”