Pioneer rap act Fat Boys’ Markie Dee dead at 52

Published February 19, 2021, 12:42 PM

by Punch Liwanag

Prince Markie Dee

Those who grew up listening to 80’s rap music would know the Fat Boys.

Prince Markie Dee of The Fatboys, born Mark Anthony Morales on Feb. 19, 1968,  died Thursday, Feb. 18 as confirmed by the group’s manager. The cause of death was listed as heart attack. He was 52.

The Fat Boys had a string of popular singles that became music video show staples such as “Wipeout,” “The Twist” with Chubby Checker and the classic 808 beat-driven  title track “Fat Boys.” With Darren “The Human Beatbox” Robinson and Damon “Kool Rock Ski” Wimbley, Markie Dee formed the trio Disco 3 which later became the Fat Boys.

The Fat Boys’ 1984 debut

After forming in 1983, the trio released their 1984 self-titled debut. In 1987 The Fatboys released their platinum certified album “Crushin’” and their hit comedy film “Disorderlies.”  Rolling Stone magazine wrote: “by the end of the decade they had become one of rap’s premier pop culture ambassadors.”

The Fat Boys popularized beat-boxing and was among the first rap groups that broke into the mainstream and brought international awareness to the then burgeoning rap music style.  

When The Fat Boy broke up, Markie Dee launched a solo career and wrote and produced or other acts such as Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez and Mary J. Blige whose “Real Love” hit was originally recorded by Morales.  Markie Dee released an album entitled “Free” that got him a number one hit single with “Typical Reason (Swing My Way).”

The Tonight Show’s band leader, drummer and Hiphop artist Questlove said “they were figuratively (no weight jokes) the biggest act in hip hop at some point in time. Like the first act that showed this culture (Hiphop) might have some real international legs to it.”