Fresh Kid Ice, co-founder of 2 Live Crew, has died at the age of 53. According to his publicist, he died early this morning in a Miami hospital.
The rapper, whose real name is Chris Wong Won, is widely considered to be the first prominent Asian rapper. He was known for forming 2 Live Crew with DJ Mr. Mixx and Amazing Vee in 1984. The group rose to fame with their sexually explicit albums, most notably As Nasty As They Wanna Be, released in 1989. Battling multiple Supreme Court cases, the group's music sparked a national debate about parental advisory labels and obscenities within music lyrics. Fresh Kid Ice remained a part of the group till the early 90's, then went on to release a solo record, The Chinaman, in 1992. The album was celebrated as an effort in embracing the rapper's asian heritage and identity in its content. 2 Live Crew's Luther "Uncle Luke" Campbell confirmed the news on Twitter:
According to Won's publicist, the cause of death is a "medical condition," though she hasn't offered more detail. We'll update this story when we have more information.