Prince Markie Dee of The Fat Boys died today at age 52. His manager Louie “Uncle Louis” Gregory made the announcement on Twitter. Mark Anthony Morales was one-third of the Disco 3 in the early ’80s. The Brooklyn natives won a talent show hosted by Mr. Magic at Radio City Hall in 1983 and released their first single “Reality” later that year. James Mason, who was Roy Ayers’ keyboard and guitar player, produced the song. An introduction to Kurtis Blow was pivotal towards their upcoming success because he helped them to find their sound with producers Larry Smith and Davy “DMX” Reeves. Their name was changed to The Fat Boys because of their growing waistlines. In 1984 their self-titled debut album came out and made history as the first to feature beatboxing from member Buffy who was known as The Human Beatbox. Morales, who also had the nickname The Puerto Rican Prince, was the first rapper of Latin heritage to go platinum long before Big Pun did as a solo artist.
The Fat Boys had seven albums of which three went Gold and one went Platinum. “Fat Boys/Human Beat Box,” “Jailhouse Rap” and “Wipeout” were some of the biggest rap songs of the time. They were part of a cannon that included Run DMC, Whodini and UTFO before rap groups became extinct. They famously had roles in the films Krush Groove, Knights Of The City and Disorderlies. Their humor and skills combined made them likeable and accessible to everyone including those who were not hardcore hip-hop fans.
When rap tastes changed and the group disbanded Prince Markie Dee signed a solo deal with Columbia Records in 1991. He had a hit with the song “Typical Reasons (Swing My Way).” Around this time he formed a production company with Cory Rooney and they wrote and produced “Real Love” for Mary J. Blige. They also worked with Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Craig Mack, Christopher Williams, and Marc Anthony. In the 2000s, he worked as a radio host for two different Florida FM stations. The Prince Markie Dee Show on Sirius XM’s Rock The Bells was his latest radio endeavor. He was recently portrayed by actor Carlos Albornoz in the Lifetime Salt-N-Pepa biopic because of his engagement to Pepa in the ’90s.
Kool-Rock Ski is the only surviving member of The Fat Boys. Buffy died in 1995 from a heart attack at the age of 28. Dee would have turned 53 on February 19th one day after his passing.
Forever in my Heart. Prince Markie Dee was more than a rapper; he was one of my very best and closest friends. My heart breaks today because I lost a brother. I’ll always love you Mark and I’ll cherish everything you taught me. Tomorrow is your birthday, swing my way big bro. pic.twitter.com/XcIsHixOoc
— Louis “Uncle Louie” Gregory (@UncleLouie) February 18, 2021