Mark D. Ross (April 2, 1967 – June 3, 2024), better known by his stage name Brother Marquis, was an American rapper and a Miami bass pioneer. Ross was born in Rochester, New York. In his teens, he moved with his mother to Los Angeles, California. By the early 1980s, Ross started to release music and made an impression on DJ and producer David Hobbs (Mr. Mixx). Hobbs was part of the group 2 Live Crew, who had just created the Miami Bass blueprint, and were successful in Florida. This led Ross accepting an invitation to join them. Due to his comedic sensibilities, Ross integrated easily into the direction the group was taking. Alongside Hobbs, Christopher Wong Won (Fresh Kid Ice), and Luther Campbell (Luke Skyywalker), they became the most well-known line up of the group. In 1986, they had a breakthrough with their Gold-certified debut album, The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are.

Brother Marquis
Background information
Birth nameMark D. Ross
Born(1967-04-02)April 2, 1967
Rochester, New York, U.S.
OriginLos Angeles, California
DiedJune 3, 2024(2024-06-03) (aged 57)
Gadsden, Alabama
Occupation(s)Rapper
Years active1983–2024
Labels
  • Luke Records
  • Attitude Records
  • Playalistic Entertainment
  • Lil' Joe Records

The group's success came with controversies due to the explicit nature of their humor. They continued their rise to fame with their second album, Move Somethin' (1988), which also went Gold. Their third album, As Nasty As They Wanna Be (1989), was certified Platinum and found legally obscene by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida (soon overruled). In the press, the group received national scrutiny. They were prosecuted and acquitted. Prior to separating, they made two more Gold albums: Banned in the U.S.A. (1990) and Sports Weekend: As Nasty as They Wanna Be, Pt. 2 (1991).

In the early 1990s, Ross embarked on various musical endeavors. He formed the duo 2 Nazty with DJ Toomp and released the album Indecent Exposure in 1993, showcasing his versatility and prowess. During the same year, Ross was a featured rapper on Ice-T's album Home Invasion, contributing to the original version of "99 Problems", which later was remade by Jay-Z into a top charting hit.

With different lineups Ross made two more albums with 2 Live Crew Shake a Lil' Somethin' (1996), which reached #145 on the Billboard 200, and The Real One,(1998) which peaked at #59 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. In 2006, Ross and Wong Won, as 2 Live Crew, reunited, started touring, released singles, and made several album announcements until Wong Won's death in 2017.

Early life

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Born on April 2, 1967,[1] Ross explained that he spent his early life in Rochester, New York with his mother. In his teens, they moved to Los Angeles, California.[2]

Career

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1983–1986 Early career, joining 2 Live Crew and the group's breakthrough

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In 1983, Ross and fellow rapper Rodney-O formed The Caution Crew and released twelve-inch singles "Westside Storie" and "Rhythm Rock".[3][4] Ross said that they were created during his time living in California while he was in junior high.[2] Ross explained that his rapper's name, Brother Marquis, was coined by his cousin, who, due to his Muslim faith, frequently referred to others as "Brother." The two would engage in Islamic practices and spend time together in a Grand Marquis car. Over time, his cousin began calling him Brother Marquis.[5]

Eventually, he caught the attention of music producer and DJ David Hobbs, also known as Mr. Mixx, who was part of the rap group 2 Live Crew, which had gained popularity in Miami, Florida. Hobbs said, "I knew Marquis from parties in Riverside. He would battle people and beat them senseless. I met him in the parking lot of a mall and told him if I ever get a chance, I'm going to bring you in." When one of the group members eventually departed, Ross flew to Florida to join 2 Live Crew alongside Hobbs, Christopher Wong Won (Fresh Kid Ice), and Luther Campbell (Luke).[6]

When Ross arrived, they had already completed the 1986 single "Trow The D. And Ghetto Bass".[7] The song "Trow The D" became the blueprint as to how future Miami bass songs were written and produced.[8] The group was initially known for their sexually explicit and comical content. Regarding Ross's comedic talents and adaptation to the group's style, Hobbs noted, "he was always naturally funny. Since the stuff was coming off of comedy records, it went hand in hand with him."[6]

Ross was 19-year when he joined, and said his first recording with the group was the song "Word".[2]

In 1986, the 2 Live Crew release their Gold-certified debut album, The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are.[9]

1988–1991: Best selling 2 Live Crew albums and attendant controversy

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In 1988, 2 Live Crew released their second studio album, Move Somethin'. The album was also certified Gold,[10] as was the single "Move Somethin'".[10] Move Somethin' peaked on the Billboard 200 charts at #68.[11]

2 Live Crew's third studio album As Nasty As They Wanna Be (1989), became the group's biggest seller, certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[12] In 1990, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled that the album was legally obscene;[13] but this ruling was later overturned by the Eleventh Circuit.[14] As Nasty As They Wanna Be was the first album in history to be deemed legally obscene.[15]

In 1990, Ross and the 2 Live Crew released their fourth album Banned in the U.S.A., which was originally credited as Luther Campbell's solo album featuring 2 Live Crew and in later editions credited as a 2 Live Crew album. The album included the hits "Do the Bart" and the title track. It was also the very first release to bear the RIAA-standard Parental Advisory warning sticker.[16] The eponymous title single was a reference to the obscenity decision from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Bruce Springsteen granted the group permission to interpolate his song "Born in the U.S.A." for the single.[17]

Also in 1990, 2 Live Crew released Live in Concert, the group's only live album, and their fifth album overall. The album was released under the Effect label, a subsidiary label of Luke Records. The album peaked at #46 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.[18]

Sports Weekend: As Nasty as They Wanna Be, Pt. 2, the fifth studio album and sixth album overall by the 2 Live Crew was released in 1991 as a sequel of As Nasty As They Wanna Be. A clean version was also released entitled Sports Weekend: As Clean As They Wanna Be Part II and was the sequel of As Clean As They Wanna Be. Sports Weekend: As Nasty as They Wanna Be, Pt. 2 would be the final album released by the most well known line up 2 Live Crew members (Ross, Wong Won, Campbell and Hobbs).[19]

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After the group's separation, Ross relocated to Georgia, where he had friends and family. There, he ventured into stand-up comedy. Subsequently, Ross teamed up with Idrin Davis (DJ Toomp) to form the duo 2 Nasty.[20]

In 1993, 2 Nazty released the album Indecent Exposure.[21] When discussing the album, Ross explained his intention to showcase diversity while staying true to the style that had made him famous. Greg Baker of the Miami New Times praised the album, acknowledging that while some of the content might be offensive, he appreciated its diversity. Baker commented, "clever story lines and double-dope rhyme schemes are laid over skirt-flipping, ass-bumping beats as strong as any on the hip-hop market today." Regarding Ross's performance, Baker noted, "Marquis remains among the most charismatic of rap vocalists and contributes the "concepts" and many of the lyrics."[20]

That same year, Ross appeared as a featured guest on Ice-T's album Home Invasion on a song named "99 Problems". Ice-T explained that the idea for the song "99 Problems" originated during a conversation about the single "Whoomp! (There It Is)" and its popularity in Magic City and that out of nowhere Ross said "Man, I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain't one". Ice-T felt it sounded right for a song's name, and once he made it, he invited Ross to do a verse.[22] In 2003, a remake was made by Jay-Z and was a major hit.[23]

In 1995, Ross, Wong Won and Hobbs would reunite to release the single "Hoochie Mama" for the soundtrack to the movie Friday. The soundtrack reached #1 on the Billboard 200 chart, where it held its position for two weeks, and on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for six weeks.[24]

In 1996, Ross reunited with Wong Won and Hobbs under the 2 Live Crew banner to release the group's seventh studio album Shake a Lil' Somethin', whose eponymous single peaked at #11 on the Hot Rap Singles chart,[25] The single "Do the Damn Thing" made it to #24 on the same chart,[26] and "Be My Private Dancer" peaked at #34.[27]

In 1998, Ross, along with Wong Won, released The Real One, the final 2 Live Crew album to date. The album's single "2 Live Party", featuring KC of KC and the Sunshine Band and Freak Nasty, peaked at #52 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart[28] and #9 on the Hot Rap Songs chart.[29] The title single "The Real One", featuring Ice-T, peaked at #60 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[30] and #9 on the Hot Rap Songs charts.[31]

In 2003, Ross released a solo project named Bottom Boi Style Vol. 1.[32]

2006–2010: Reforming and reuniting with 2 Live Crew

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During 2006–07 Ross and Wong Won met, discussed their differences, and ultimately decided to relaunch 2 Live Crew. The duo made offers to past members (notably, Hobbs and Campbell) to re-join the group, but the offers were declined.[19]

In 2010, Ross and 2 Live Crew were honorees at the 2010 7th VH1 Hip-Hop Honors. In August, Wong Won and Ross announced the pending release of a 2 Live Crew album named Just Wanna Be Heard.[33]

In late 2010, Ross and Wong Won released 2 Live Crew singles "I'm 2 Live" featuring rapper Mannie Fresh, "Cougar," and "Boom" featuring rapper E-40.[34] The duo once again announced the pending release of the album Just Wanna Be Heard.[2]

2011–2024: Later projects

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In 2011, Ross was a featured guest on the single "Steak & Mash Potatoes" by Chain Swangaz. A music video of the single featured Ross and Chain Swangaz as fast food employee who create havoc while their boss, played by Charlie Sheen, is gone.[35]

In 2014, Ross and Wong Won released the single "Take It Off".[36] Also, Wong Won and Ross made cameo appearances in the Flo Rida music video "G.D.F.R."[37] That same year, the duo announced the pending release of a new 2 Live Crew studio album Turn Me On.[2] Also that year, Wong Won and Ross reunited with Campbell for several performances.[38][39]

In 2016, Wong Won left 2 Live Crew and passed away in 2017, Ross reunited with Hobbs to reform the group. The duo released the single One Horse Sleigh in 2016 and continue to tour nationally as 2 Live Crew.[40]

Personal life and death

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Ross was an avowed born again Christian, but also felt no moral restrictions when he performed sexually explicit lyrics in 2 Live Crew hits on tour or on recordings.[41]

Ross had a daughter.[32]

Ross died on June 3, 2024, at the age of 57, in his home in Gadsden, Alabama.[42] His death is attributed to an heart attack.[43]

Accolades

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2010 – VH1 Hip-Hop Honors: The Dirty South Edition – Honoree[33]

2019 – Yo ATL Raps – Lifetime Achievement Award[44]

References

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  1. ^ Smith, Harrison (June 6, 2024). "Brother Marquis, mainstay of hip-hop's 2 Live Crew, dies at 57". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on June 7, 2024. Retrieved June 7, 2024.
  2. ^ a b c d e Katel, Jacob (August 28, 2014). "2 Live Crew's Brother Marquis on New Album, Turn Me On, and Three Decades of Dirty Rap". Miami New Times. Archived from the original on April 14, 2019.
  3. ^ Ross, Mark "Brother Marquis"; Oliver, Rodney "Rodney-O" (1983). Rhythm Rock (Vinyl). Galleon Records. GGDS-2105.
  4. ^ Ross, Mark "Brother Marquis"; Oliver, Rodney "Rodney-O" (1983). Westside Storie (Vynil). Galleon Records. GAL-0621.
  5. ^ Howell, Theresa B.; Navarro, David R. (October 2021). "Exclusive Interview with Brother Marquis". The Heatseekers. No. 9. pp. 28–31. Archived from the original on June 5, 2024.
  6. ^ a b "2 Live Crew's DJ and Producer Mr. Mixx On the Roots of Miami Bass". Red Bull Music Academy Daily. Archived from the original on September 28, 2023.
  7. ^ Wong Won, Christopher "Fresh Kid Ice"; Hobbs, David "Mr. Mixx"; Campbell, Luther "Luke Skyywalker" (1986). Trow The D. And Ghetto Bass (Vinyl). Luke Skyywalker Records. G.R. 100.
  8. ^ Bein, Kat (November 3, 2014). "Tootsie Rolls, 'Hoochie Mamas,' and Cars That Go Boom: The Story of Miami Bass". thump.vice.com. VICE. Archived from the original on June 8, 2017. Retrieved February 27, 2017. Miami Bass, Booty Bass, Booty Music, or whatever you want to call it, changed the scenes of hip hop, dance music, and pop forever...The story of music's dirtiest genre reaches back to the '80s with roots set firmly in Afrika Bambaataa's elektro-funk...foundational artists Amos Larkins and Maggotron, both of whom have been credited as kicking the regional sound into motion. According to Stylus Magazine, Larkins and the Miami Bass conception can be traced back to the movie Knights of the City...Inspired by the humid and vice-ridden melting pot of cultures, ...MC A.D.E.'s "Bass Rock Express" gets the title for first hit of the genre, but it was 2 Live Crew who became the poster boys of movement. Record store owners who sold the album were arrested and charged with crimes of obscenity, and 2 Live Crew members were arrested just for playing shows...US Appeals Court system ruled rap was protected by First Amendment rights...2 Live Crew made it safe for hip-hop as we know it to exist. The influence of the genre is far-reaching...Miami Bass remains not only one of the most ridiculous and enjoyable genres of music in recent memory but also one of the most important.
  9. ^ "Gold & Platinum – RIAA". RIAA. Archived from the original on April 21, 2022. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Gold & Platinum – RIAA". RIAA. Archived from the original on March 15, 2022. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
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  12. ^ "Gold & Platinum". RIAA. Archived from the original on January 5, 2016. Retrieved September 29, 2023.
  13. ^ Skyywalker Records, Inc. v. Navarro, 739 F.Supp. 578 (S.D. Fla. 1990).
  14. ^ Luke Records, Inc. v. Navarro, 960 F.2d 134 (11th Cir. 1992).
  15. ^ Deflem, Mathieu. 2020. "Popular Culture and Social Control: The Moral Panic on Music Labeling." Archived August 3, 2019, at the Wayback Machine American Journal of Criminal Justice 45(1):2–24 (First published online July 24, 2019).
  16. ^ Schonfeld, Zach. "Does the Parental Advisory Label Still Matter?". Newsweek. Archived from the original on April 13, 2019. Retrieved July 24, 2016.
  17. ^ Philips, Chuck (June 26, 1990). "Boss Apparently OKs Crew's Use of 'U.S.A.' : Pop Music: 2 Live Crew's 'Banned in the U.S.A.' will be released July 4. Anti-obscenity crusader Jack Thompson blasts the decision and the musicians". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on June 8, 2024. Retrieved June 8, 2024.
  18. ^ "The 2 Live Crew Live In Concert Chart History". Billboard. Archived from the original on May 11, 2018. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  19. ^ a b Wong Won, Christopher 'Fresh Kid Ice" (July 20, 2015). "My Rise 2 Fame": The Tell All Autobiography of a Hip Hop Legend. Iconic Three Media Group, LLC. Archived from the original on February 14, 2018. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  20. ^ a b Baker, Greg. "Double Exposure". Miami New Times. Archived from the original on September 30, 2023. Retrieved September 29, 2023.
  21. ^ Ross, Mark "Brother Marquis"; Davis, Aldrin "DJ Toomp" (1993). Indecent Exposure (CD). Attitude Records. ATTD-14010.
  22. ^ Baker, Soren (July 21, 2014). "Ice T Discusses Jay Z Using His "99 Problems" Song". HipHopDX. Archived from the original on October 2, 2023. Retrieved October 2, 2023.
  23. ^ Jung, E. Alex (July 7, 2014). "The 21-Year History of the Song '99 Problems'". Vulture. Archived from the original on October 2, 2023.
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  31. ^ "The 2 Live Crew The Real One Chart History". Hot Rap Songs. Archived from the original on May 11, 2018. Retrieved October 29, 2017.
  32. ^ a b "Brother Marquis, rapper of 2 Live Crew and '99 Problems' fame, dies at 57". Yahoo News. June 4, 2024. Archived from the original on June 8, 2024. Retrieved June 8, 2024.
  33. ^ a b "2 Live Crew Returns to Music, Despite Stroke and Midlife Crisis". rollingout. August 17, 2010. Archived from the original on April 13, 2019. Retrieved August 17, 2010.
  34. ^ "The 2 Live Crew – Albums". Itunes. Archived from the original on February 14, 2018. Retrieved February 13, 2018.
  35. ^ Wolkoff, Carly (July 8, 2011). "Charlie Sheen Makes His Rap Video Debut in 'Steak & Mash Potatoes'". Billboard. Archived from the original on September 28, 2023. Retrieved September 28, 2023.
  36. ^ "2 Live Crew: Take It Off". Imdb. Archived from the original on June 4, 2024. Retrieved July 21, 2018.
  37. ^ McManus, Brian (December 24, 2014). "Premiere: Flo Rida Gets His Phil Jackson On In "G.D.F.R." Video". BuzzFeed. Archived from the original on April 13, 2019. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  38. ^ "2 Live Crew Reunion at LIV". New Miami Times. November 27, 2014. Archived from the original on April 13, 2019.
  39. ^ "2 Live Crew & Uncle Luke at LIV". World Red Eye. August 31, 2015. Archived from the original on April 13, 2019. Retrieved February 17, 2018.
  40. ^ Phillips, Demi (January 22, 2024). "2 Live Crew: Where Are They Now?". HotNewHipHop. Archived from the original on May 24, 2024. Retrieved April 20, 2024.
  41. ^ 105.1 the Bounce Detroit (April 2, 2018), Morning Bounce- Brother Marquis from 2 Live Crew In Studio Interview, archived from the original on September 27, 2023, retrieved April 6, 2018{{citation}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  42. ^ Smith, Harrison (June 7, 2024). "Brother Marquis, mainstay of hip-hop's 2 Live Crew, dies at 57". Toronto Sun. Archived from the original on June 10, 2024.
  43. ^ "Cause Of Death For 2 Live Crew's Brother Marquis Revealed". New York's Power 105.1 FM. Archived from the original on June 8, 2024. Retrieved June 8, 2024.
  44. ^ Small, TeeJay (June 6, 2024). "Remembering Brother Marquis Of 2 Live Crew". HotNewHipHop. Archived from the original on June 8, 2024. Retrieved June 8, 2024.
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