Mark Anthony Morales, better known as Prince Markie Dee, of the legendary ’80s rap group The Fat Boys, has passed away at the age of 52.
Details surrounding Morales’ death are very scarce at the moment, but that hasn’t stopped fans from all over the world from taking to social media to pay tribute to the late emcee.
Rock The Bells, where he worked as a radio host and DJ, tweeted their condolences on Thursday (Feb. 18). “The Rock The Bells family is heartbroken to learn of the passing of Mark ‘Prince Markie Dee’ Morales earlier today,” the official page tweeted. “That voice and his presence can never be replaced. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones.”
Morales was born on February 19, 1968. He established Disco 3 together with Darren Robinson and Damon Wimbley in the early 1980s. After winning a talent contest at the Radio City Music Hall in 1983, they signed a contract with the promoter of the show.
The promoter recommended the group to rename themselves to The Fat Boys, in reference to their weight.
The Fat Boys were one of hip-hop’s first major success stories. Being an early superstar on the hip-hop scene, Morales was typically viewed as the leader of the group known to rap with energy and passion while remaining funny and intelligent at the same time.
The trio of Morales as Prince Markie Dee, Darren “Buff Love (The Human Beat Box)” Robinson, and Damon Wimbley aka Kool Rock-Ski were originally named “The Disco 3,” but later changed to “The Fat Boys” which stuck with them for the remainder of their career. Starting out in 1983, Morales and the crew won a talent show that put them in the bright lights of New York’s Radio City Music Hall.
The three expertly mixed rhyme skills, beat-boxing ability, and humor to create some of the most accessible hip-hop of the time. The first three albums, which were produced by Kurtis Blow, were all successful and birthed hits like “Jail House Rap,” “Can You Feel It?,” and “The Fat Boys Are Back.”