Brother Marquis, 2 Live Crew Rapper, Dead at 58

Brother Marquis, a member of the hip-hop group 2 Live Crew, has died at the age of 58.

2 Live Crew’s manager confirmed Brother Marquis’ death to TMZ on Monday, June 3rd. The cause of his death appears to be the result of natural causes, but details were not immediately known.

Born Mark Ross on April 4th, 1966, Marquis began rapping in his teenage years, eventually landing on the radar of 2 Live Crew’s Mr. Mixx in the ‘80s for his rap battle skills. After a position in the group opened, Mr. Mixx offered it to Marquis, who flew to Florida to join.

From there, the group — consisting of Mr. Mixx, Marquis, Fresh Kid Ice, and Uncle Luke (then known as Luke Skyywalker) — leaned into their humanistic sensibilities, and started gaining notoriety for raunchy, sexual songs, like “We Want Some Pussy” and “Throw the ‘D.’”


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Ultimately, they came under national scrutiny with their third album, 1989’s As Nasty as They Wanna Be, which included the hit song “Me So Horny.” The album sold tremendously well, earning Platinum certification and raising concerns among the American Family Association for its explicit lyrics.

After the AFA lobbied the government in Florida, As Nasty as They Wanna Be was declared legally obscene by a US District Judge, and made illegal to sell. This, famously, led to a few arrests. First, a retailer was arrested for selling the album to an undercover cop several days after it was ruled obscene. Then, members of the band themselves — though not Marquis — were arrested after performing a live show in a Miami suburb.

Eventually, a US Court of Appeals overturned the ruling, but that wasn’t the end of the legal drama around As Nasty as They Wanna Be. Upon releasing a “clean” version of the album, which included a Roy Orbison-sampling bonus track “Pretty Woman,” the copyright owners for Orbison’s music filed an infringement lawsuit against 2 Live Crew. That case went all the way to the Supreme Court in 1994, who ruled in 2 Live Crew’s favor, saying that the song, as an act of parody, was fair use.


After all of that — and an additional lawsuit from George Lucas relating to Uncle Luke’s then-stage name, Luke Skyywalker — 2 Live Crew got permission to use an interpolation of Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.”  and followed-up with their fourth studio album: 1990’s Banned In the U.S.A., the very first album release in history to bear the RIAA-standard Parental Advisory warning sticker.

Though 2 Live Crew’s popularity waned after these albums, Brother Marquis remained active, and continued to have an influence on hip-hop. In 1993, he appeared on the Ice-T song “99 Problems,” coining the phrase “I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain’t one,” which was later used for Jay-Z’s 2004 hit.

For a period of time, Marquis performed with Idrin Davis as a duo dubbed 2 Nasty, and over the course of the 2000s and 2010s, 2 Live Crew reunited at various times with different lineups. Today, with the news of Marquis’ passing, the official 2 Live Crew Instagram page posted his photo with the caption “Mark Ross AKA Brother Marquis of the 2 Live Crew has went to the upper room.”