Fresh Kid Ice (real name Christopher Wong Won), one of the founding members of the controversial ’80s Miami hip-hop group 2 Live Crew, died on Thursday (July 13). He was 53.
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Crew mate Luther Campbell (formerly Luke Skywalker) posted about his loss. “My Condolence goes out to the family Chris Wong Won Fresh Kid Ice of the 2 Live Crew who just passed away people we lost a legend,” he wrote.
Rick Ross, a Miami native, also weighed in on Wong Won’s death. “Dam! Just got call we lost 2 Live crew legend Fresh Kid Ice this morning! RIP 🙏🏽,” he wrote.
Fresh Kid’s manager DJ Debo confirmed the rapper’s death, but didn’t provide the cause.
Wong Won was born in 1964 in Port of Spain, Trinidad before moving to Brooklyn in 1977. The performer, who also went by the name The Chinaman, was the first well-known biracial rapper of Asian descent. His grandfather was of Cantonese heritage.
In 1984, Wong Won co-formed 2 Live Crew with rappers DJ Mr. Mixx and Amazing V. Shortly after, they teamed up with Campbell and moved to Miami.
In addition to being an energetic outfit, 2 Live Crew were considered dangerous for their time, freely and graphically rapping about sex and misogyny before such practices were widely adopted by other rappers. In 1989, 2 Live Crew went to court because their 1989 album As Nasty as the Wanna Be was considered too offensive. In 1990 a federal court ruled that it was “obscene” and made it illegal for record stores in southern Florida to sell the album. The ruling was overturned two years later, but not before the group received invaluable publicity that significantly increased their popularity across the country.
2 Live Crew were on the scene between 1982 and 1991. After their 1988 album Move Somethin’ , Fresh Kid Ice was in a debilitating car accident that injured his brachial plexus and prevented him from moving his left arm. Even so, the group reformed in 1994 and lasted until 1998. In 2009 and 2010, Won suffered two unrelated strokes and had to learn how to walk and speak again, Vibe reports. It is unclear if his past medical history contributed to his death.
In 2015, Fresh Kid Ice released his memoir My Rise 2 Fame: the Tell-All Autobiography of a Hip-Hop Legend