Legendary hip-hop figure Prince Markie Dee has reportedly died at the age of 52. Though the details surrounding the tragedy have not been revealed, AllHipHop reports the Brooklyn-native died “suddenly.”
Prince Markie Dee—born Mark Anthony Morales—rose to prominence in the 1980s as a member of The Fat Boys hip-hop trio, which included Damon “Kool Rock-Ski” Wimbley and Darren “Buff Love” Robinson. The latter artist, also known as the Human Beat Box, died from a heart attack in 1995 at age 28.
The Fat Boys released their self-titled debut album in 1984 and its follow-up, The Fat Boys Are Back, less than a year later. The first two efforts were produced by the iconic Kurtis Blow. Prince Markie Dee would release four more albums under The Fat Boys moniker and appeared in several feature films, including Krush Groove (1985) and Disorderlies (1987).
Prince Markie Dee and Kool Rock-Ski discussed the trio’s legacy during a 2017 interview with Rolling Stone.
“As far as our peers are concerned, I think we get a lot of love and recognition,” Prince Markie Dee said. “As far as the media though, I think we totally get ignored. … I think people look at Run-D.M.C. and Whodini as Hip-Hop artists and they look at us as comedians.”
Prince Markie Dee left The Fat Boys in the early 1990s to pursue a solo career.
The rapper/producer released his debut solo effort Free in 1992 and his sophomore project Love Daddy in 1995. He also produced and wrote for big-name artists like Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, and Marc Anthony. In 2008, he became a radio host at Miami’s 103.5 The Beat, and eventually landed hosting gigs at WEDR 99.1 FM and LL COOL J’s Rock The Bells SirusXM radio channel.
You can read some of the tribute messages for Prince Markie Dee below.