Credit: Prince Markie Dee (TheFatBoys (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Prince_Markey_Dee.jpg), „Prince Markey Dee“, https://creativecommons.org/licens

Prince Markie Dee of the popular 1980s rap trio The Fat Boys has died. Born as Mark Anthony Morales on Feb. 19, 1968, the lovable, overweight lyricist began his career and formed the group Disco 3 in the early 1980s. Disco 3, which included Darren (the Human Beat Box) Robinson and Damon (Kool Rock Ski) Wimbley, won a talent show at Radio City Music Hall in 1983, winning a management contract which led to them changing their group’s name to The Fat Boys.

The Fat Boys went on to be a commercially successful group releasing seven albums and earning platinum status for their 1987 album, “Crushin’,” and three gold albums. The group’s humorous, fun and non-threatening rap music made them accessible to mainstream music lovers whose goal was to have fun and engage in light-hearted danceable music, staying clear of cultural commentary of heavy subject matter that plagued Black and marginalized communities.

They reimagined the Chubby Checker’s 1960 smash hit, “The Twist,” collaborating with the iconic musician in 1988, and made appearances in films “Krush Groove” and “Knights of the City.” They performed on the very first hip hop arena tour, Fresh Fest, allowing them to be introduced to droves of hip hop fans who couldn’t get enough of the silly and majestic rap group.

After The Fat Boys broke up in the early 1990s, Prince Markie Dee ventured out on his own and released two solo albums, and released a hit single, “Typical Reasons (Swing My Way).” He went on to cultivate a career as a producer and songwriter and worked with Mary J. Blige on her seminal debut album “What’s the 411?” He earned many credits on the music of top artists like Mariah Carey and Destiny’s Child.

Prince Markie Dee was able to create a very stable and lucrative career for himself in the R&B pop world, but his most recent endeavor was his role as a radio host for WMIB-FM and WEDR-FM in Miami and on SiriusXM.

The hip hop community has been grieving the loss of this jovial, intelligent artist who was key in making hip hop a light-hearted and successful form of expression. He will be truly missed and remembered for his contribution to American music.