He Was One of Hip-Hop's 'Early Provocateurs'

2 Live Crew member Brother Marquis dead at 58
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2024 1:42 PM CDT

Influential hip-hop group 2 Live Crew has lost an integral member. Brother Marquis, whose real name was Mark Ross, died at age 58, the group announced Monday on social media. A cause of death wasn't provided. Brother Marquis was one of the most notable members of the Miami hip-hop group that found commercial success while courting controversy beginning in the late 1980s. The troupe was often criticized for its sexually explicit lyrics and album covers, and their fourth album, Banned in the USA, released in 1990, was "the first rap album to feature the black-and-white 'parental advisory explicit content' label," per USA Today. The group's prior release, 1989's As Nasty as They Wanna Be, was legally declared obscene by a Florida judge, per NPR.

Brother Marquis made a splash on his own, too, including with a feature on Ice-T's 1993 song "99 Problems." Born in Rochester, New York, in 1966, he moved across the country twice—first as a teen to Los Angeles, then to Miami, where he joined 2 Live Crew in 1986, per the BBC. The title of the group's most successful song, 1989's "Me So Horny," hints at the sort of lyrics they offered.

"Before 2 Live Crew, hip-hop was fairly tame," cultural critic Kiana Fitzgerald tells NPR. "They became hip-hop's early provocateurs, to put it lightly." In a tribute post on X, 2 Live Crew member Uncle Luke said the pair recently reunited in the fight "to get back our catalog that was stolen from us. We will continue that fight in his name for his Family." Another notable member of 2 Live Crew, Fresh Kid Ice (Christopher Wong Won) died in 2017 at age 53. (More obituary stories.)

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