Fresh Kid Ice, a founding member of 1990s controversy magnets 2 Live Crew and one of the first high-profile Asian rappers in the U.S., died early Thursday, according to TMZ and a Tweet from his former bandmate, Luther Campbell.
The rapper (real name: Christopher Wong Won) was 53 and died of an undisclosed medical condition in the group’s home base of Miami, according to his manager.
“My Condolence goes out to the family Chris Wong Wong Fresh Kid Ice of the 2 Live Crew who just passed away people we lost a legend,” tweeted Campbell, whose aliases include Uncle Luke and Luke Skyywalker.
2 Live Crew rose out of the South Florida rap scene in the late 1980s and quickly garnered attention with semi-pornographic lyrics and cover artwork, particularly with 1989’s “As Nasty As They Wanna Be.” While hardly groundbreaking musically, the album thrust the group into the center of a whirlwind of controversy over the lyrics to songs like “Me So Horny” and “The F— Shop.” Driven by a media campaign spearheaded by Florida-based anti-obscenity activist Jack Thompson (who rallied the support of Republican Florida governor Bob Martinez and then-U.S. attorney general Janet Reno), the album was deemed legally obscene by the U.S. government and Campbell and Won were arrested after an adults-only concert in Miami in 1990 on charges concerned with the “prohibition on certain acts in connection with an obscene, lewd performance.”
The group responded by naming their following album “Banned in the U.S.A.” and rode the controversy for the next couple of years, but its popularity gradually declined and the obscenity label was overturned in 1992.
Campbell left the group acrimoniously in the 1990s, although Fresh Kid Ice carried on and is the only member to have appeared on all of 2 Live Crew’s albums.
(Photo: Fresh Kid Ice pictured far right)