Brother Marquis of influential rap group 2 Live Crew has died. He was 57.

Marquis’ – real name Mark D. Ross – death was announced and confirmed by 2 Live Crew’s official social media pages last night (June 3). The group wrote: “Mark Ross AKA ‘Brother Marquis’ of the 2 Live crew has passed away.”

While no cause of death has been officially confirmed, an unnamed source close to Ross told TMZ that his death “appears to be natural”.

Late rapper Fresh Ice Kid – who died in 2017 – formed 2 Live Crew in 1986. Brother Marquis joined the rap group’s ranks in 1986 after they relocated from California to Miami and met Marquis several times at parties and were impressed by his sense of humour. Later that year, Marquis and 2 Live Crew released their debut album, ‘The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are’, which featured the raunchy and controversial ‘We Want Some Pussy’.

While ‘We Want Some Pussy’ was the group’s breakout hit, the group’s next three albums boosted the group to national fame. The group’s third album, 1989’s ‘As Nasty As They Wanna Be’, courted controversy shortly after its release, with federal district judge Jose Gonzalez ruling it as obscene.

Gonzalez also ruled and that stores and merchants that fell under his jurisdiction could face charges if they made the album available for sale. This ruling was later overturned, and the group’s follow-up, ‘Banned in the U.S.A.’ became the first album to include the black-and-white Parental Advisory sticker on its cover.

Rapper Brother Marquis of 2 Live Crew performs onstage
Brother Marquis. Credit: Rick Kern/WireImage

In 1990, David Bowie stopped a show mid-way to defend 2 Live Crew, per Repeat Mag, telling his audience: “I’ve been listening to the album by 2 Live Crew. It’s not the best album that’s ever been made, but when I heard they banned it, I went out and bought it. Freedom of thought, freedom of speech – it’s one of the most important things we have.”

Various members of 2 Live Crew began to depart the group in 1994, including Brother Marquis, who relocated to Georgia, and released new music in the duo 2 Nasty. In 1995, he reunited with Fresh Kid Ice and DJ Mr. Mixx to record ‘Hoochie Mama’ for the Friday soundtrack.

The following year, they formally reunited under the 2 Live Crew banner to release their seventh studio album, ‘Shake a Lil’ Somethin’’.

Following the news of Brother Marquis’ death, his 2 Live Crew bandmate Luke Campbell wrote on X in tribute: “We took on so many fights for the culture. Made great music together, something I would never forget.”

He continued: “We had recently got back together to take on another fight to get back our catalog that was stolen from us. We will continue that fight in his name for his Family. The Brother Marquis, that I know would want us to celebrate his life that’s exactly what I’m gonna do.”

DJ Vlad has also paid tribute, writing: “I had a chance to listen to his life story in 2022. Definitely one of the forefathers of his genre that never got the credit or the money he deserved.”

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