Remembering Prince Markie Dee of the pioneering rap trio The Fat Boys
Growing up in the Hudson Valley area in that 83-85 era, you could get WBLS on your radio dial. But you had to work for it.
It was a delicate dance of adjusting the frequency know along with positioning the antenna towards the sky in blind hope the airwaves would open up and the sounds of the Rap Attack with Mr. Magic urging listeners to get those fresh blank tapes and batteries out for the next three hours of hip-hop classics.
AUDIO: Mr. Magic on WBLS 1985
When we first moved to our house in the Town of Newburgh in the summer of ’85, there was an old pool in the backyard with a wooden deck. I remember sitting up there with my little Soundesign boom box with the one speaker and a tape deck, holding it up to the sun as I desperately try to get as close to 107.5 on the dial. Then amidst the static I’d hear it…
“The Fat Boys are back, and you know they could never be wack…”
Along with Run DMC and The Furious Five, the trio of Buff Love The Human Beat Box, Kool Rock-Ski and Prince Markie Dee helped so many kids my age back then get right with the art of MCing. The way by which Rock and the Prince would tag team in and out of the verses like The British Bulldogs over Buff’s unfuckwithable mouth music mastery…it just lights up your mind even thinking about it.
Then they did Disorderlies and created the Duck Soup for the hip-hop generation just because they could. And how did they follow that up? Jamming with the Beach Boys, of course, forming one of the most unsung harbingers for East Coast/West Coast unity in rap history.
VIDEO: The Fat Boys x The Beach Boys “Wipeout”
Today would have been Prince Markie Dee’s 53rd birthday. But sadly he succumbed to a fatal heart attack yesterday, rendering him 52 forever.
“Forever in my Heart. Prince Markie Dee was more than a rapper; he was one of my very best and closest friends,” manager Louis Gregory wrote on Twitter. “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.”
An active voice on Instagram and a popular DJ on Sirius Radio, the man born Mark Morales was also a master pop songwriter to boot, penning hits for Destiny’s Child, Mariah Carey, Father MC and, most notably, the eternal Mary J. Blige hit “Real Love,” which is ingrained in the brain of anyone who went out clubbing on Friday nights.
“I’m CRUSHED man,” lamented Long Island rap legend RA The Rugged Man on his Facebook page. “Rest in Peace PRINCE MARKIE DEE one of the most underrated MC/Producers EVER. 1st LATINO MC to go Platinum. The FAT BOYS was my first RAP TAPE ever as a kid…. 20 yrs ago my label sent me to a studio, I got there and PRINCE MARKIE DEE was chilling with us, me & another MC was rhymin back & forth, that MC ended up blowing up a few years later 50 Cent. I didn’t tell Markie Dee how much I thought he was the man, I was trying to play it cool. That was the only time I met him or kicked it with him.. The FAT BOYS outta Brooklyn. ICONS #RipBUFFY”
Paul Reubens, meanwhile, offered this sweet memory on his Twitter:
“I just heard that Mark ‘Prince Markie Dee’ Morales of the pioneering group the Fat Boys has passed away. One day before his birthday. I loved the Fat Boys and had the privilege of meeting Mark, along with the other two legends of their trio, Darren and Damon, in the 80’s right after the release of their first album, when we were all starting out. We had loving goofiness and comedy in common. I loved their music, the beatboxing and how funny they all were.
I invited the Fat Boys to the premiere of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure and to my complete delight, they attended. They rapped before the movie began, out in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater and when the film was over, they came to the after-party on the roof of the building next door and rapped some more. They were just getting ready to make the classic movie Krush Groove, with Sheila E, Kurtis Blow and Run-D.M.C. They came to my premiere with the films’ director Michael Schultz and joked and hung around with Mr T.
Prince Markie Dee loved life, fun and being happy. I admired him very much. His talent was huge, and his future was limitless. I bet there’s some serious hip-hop going on in Heaven right now. He had a smile that was incandescent, which perfectly matched his personality. Rest in Peace, your highness.”
To honor the passing of the last member of this most important trio in hip-hop’s evolution as an international phenomenon, the Rock & Roll Globe has put together this playlist of our favorite Fat Boys jams in the memory of Mr. Morales.
He was known as Prince Markie Dee. But make no mistake, this man is a true king of rap.