“In figurative terms (no weight jokes), they were the biggest act in hip hop at some point in time,” wrote Questlove. “Like the first act to demonstrate that this culture might have some international legs to it.”

Louis Gregory, manager of the Fat Boys, confirmed the passing of Prince Markie Dee on Thursday. He was 52 years old. His cause of death is unknown.

“Forever in my Heart. Prince Markie Dee was more than a rapper; he was one of my very best and closest friends,” tweeted Gregorian. “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.”

This group of Disco 3 was formed on February 19th, 1968, by Darren Robinson (the Human Beatbox) and Damon Wimbley (Kool Rock Ski) before becoming the Fat Boys. Radio City Music Hall hosted a talent contest in 1983 that launched the group’s career. By the decade’s end, rap’s premier pop culture ambassadors released Crushin’, their platinum-selling fourth album, and Disorderlies, their breakout comedy film. They popularized beatboxing, and their goofy humor made them essential to the mainstreaming of rap music.

They had hits like “Can You Feel It?” and “Jail House Rap” on two of their first albums, 1984’s self-titled debut and 1985’s Fat Boys.

“I would be walking and all of a sudden I would hear music ricochet off the walls, it would go ‘huh huh huh ha huh Hu Hu ha Fat Fat Fat boys, Fat Fat Fat boys,’ this was the first song they would play at the block party to summon you to appear,” posted Fat Joe on Instagram. “Today’s news is sad the last member of the Fat Boys’ Prince Markie D morales has passed on. He was a great guy, a Legend, and a pioneer. God bless my fellow Boriqua brother till we meet again.”

Crushin”s cover of “Wipeout” with the Beach Boys was their biggest hit, reaching Number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100. The cover of “The Twist,” performed by Chubby Checker, appeared on the Hot 100 at 16.

As a producer, Dee has produced songs for Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, and Mary J. Blige (the latter recording “Real Love,” which became her first Top Ten hit). On his 1992 album Free, he had a Number One hit with “Typical Reasons (Swing My Way).”

Later in his career, he worked as a drive-time host on Miami’s WMIB and for SiriusXM’s Rock the Bells.

“They were figuratively (no weight jokes) the biggest act in hip hop at some point in time,” Questian Lupe posted on Instagram. “Like the first act that showed this culture might have some real international legs to it … They were so dope; we just took them for granted. They did dope routines & dance steps; albums went gold & platinum. Did movies & tv & commercials. They explored territories for the first time that today seems like yawn a Tuesday.”

A death announcement had been made for rapper Prince Markie Dee.

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