Brother Marquis, member of rap group 2 Live Crew, dies

Brother Marquis, a member of the Miami hip-hop group 2 Live Crew and a rapper whose sexually explicit lyrics sparked debates about race and artistic freedom in the 1980s and ’90s, has died.

he had died announced the The death was posted on 2 Live Crew’s social media accounts Monday night. The post did not give a cause or location of death. Sources differ on whether he was 57 or 58.

2 Live Crew was founded in 1984, and brother Marquis, who was born Mark Ross in Rochester, NY, joined after the group moved from California to Miami to replace another member who had left. He became part of its most well-known lineup, along with Christopher Wong Vaughn (Fresh Kid Ice); the group’s leader, Luther Campbell (Luke Skywalker); and David Hobbs (Mr. Mix).

He was the MC on the group’s first album, “The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are”, and 2022 Interview He said he wrote or co-wrote some of the group’s best-known songs.

“I wasn’t really comfortable with all the profanity that we were putting into the music, but when you see the response in the community and everybody is loving it, you know, you go with it,” Mr. Ross recalled in a 2022 interview with Vlad TV.

In 1990, a Florida court deemed the group’s third album, “As Naughty as They Wanna Be,” legally obscene — and therefore illegal to sell. It was the first album in U.S. history to receive that honor.

That year, Mr. Ross, Mr. Wong Von and Mr. Campbell were charged with obscenity for performing songs from the album at a nightclub after an undercover police officer recorded their show. They faced up to a year in prison and fines of up to $1,000.

During the obscenity trial, prosecutors argued that their songs’ lyrics included graphic descriptions of sex and simulations of “deviated sexual acts.” But 2 Live Crew’s lawyers said the group’s performances should be understood within the context of hip-hop, and that the lyrics “can have artistic value when you have an understanding, when you effectively decode them.”

A jury ultimately found all three men not guilty, and in 1992 an appeals court overturned the obscenity ruling on their album.

The group faced another court case over their 1989 track “Pretty Woman,” a rap version of Roy Orbison’s rock song “Oh, Pretty Woman.” Acuff-Rose Music, which held the copyright to Mr. Orbison’s song, sued 2 Live Crew for copyright infringement. After years of legal battles, the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately ruled in favor of 2 Live Crew, setting a legal precedent by creating a protection zone for parody within federal copyright law.

Reflecting on 2 Live Crew’s legacy in 2021 Interview Speaking with The Heat Seekers magazine, Mr Ross said, “I’ll take it with me to the grave that we made a difference.”


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