2 Live Crew’s half-Trinidadian, half-Asian rapper Fresh Kid Ice has unexpectedly passed away.
If you survived the 90s as a member of 2 Live Crew, we’d assumed you were immortal! But now, one of the group’s members — pioneering Asian rapper Fresh Kid Ice — has mysteriously passed away. And the situation around Fresh Kid Ice’s death remain mysterious.
Fresh Kid Ice — whose real name is Christopher Wong Won — was 52. According to a statement from his manager, the pioneering Asian rapper died from an unlabeled ‘medical condition’. So you can fill in the blanks.
During his heyday, Fresh Kid Ice was part of one of the most shocking rap groups imaginable. In fact, he was one of its co-founders along with the notorious Luke Skyywalker (aka Luther Campbell). While N.W.A was doing the unimaginable on LA, 2 Live Crew went the straight nasty sex route. And it worked extremely well, with Miami Bass the boomin’ sub-genre.
Actually, Fresh Kid Ice didn’t seem to be hindered by racial stereotypes. And part of the reason for that is, well, being a member of 2 Live Crew!
But the 90s were decidedly pre-internet, with initial impressions based on audio and limited photos. “When we first started, a lot of people didn’t know I was Asian,” Fresh Kid Ice told Vice Magainze last year. “But when the videos came out, it basically crossed the group over. Other people could be like, ‘Damn, that could be me. I didn’t know an Asian dude was rapping like that!'”
Fresh Kid Ice ultimately died young; he was 52. And his name has largely been wiped away by the sands of hip-hop history. Indeed, 2 Live Crew gained most of its notoriety for its outlandish lyrics and legal run-ins, including multiple court cases over obscenity. The Miami-based group found themselves at the center of international news reports and controversial police crackdowns, all of which increased their notoriety (and album sales).
That was a similar result experienced by a myriad of shocking rap groups of the era. In Straight Outta Compton, perhaps the best line comes from Eazy-E. “See, the truth is, they can do whatever they want with them,” Eazy commented while witnessing a protest in which N.W.A CDs were being destroyed. “They bought them motherfuckers.”