"Life is life," Chris Wong Won said in an interview in 2000. "There's only X amount of time to shine."
Wong Won, also known as Fresh Kid Ice and one of the founders of the hip-hop group 2 Live Crew, has died. He was 53 years old. Along with rap mogul (and New Times columnist) Luther Campbell, Wong Won and several others made history in 1989 with their album As Nasty as They Wanna Be.
That album inspired a local attempt at a sales ban and two U.S. Supreme Court cases, which the band won.
Famous as a Miami bass pioneer, 2 Live Crew actually started in Riverside, California, while Wong Won was working for the Air Force. He, David Hobbs, Chris Wong Won, and Yuri Vielot were there. (Mark Ross, who would become Brother Marquis, arrived a bit later. Hobbs would become Mr. Mixx.) Then they met Campbell. "We were sneaking out on weekends, going to Miami to do shows," Wong Won told Rolling Stone in 2015. "We did it undercover... I probably could have been prosecuted because a lot of times I was out of the range of reach. In case there's a recall in an emergency, I'm supposed to be able to get back to the base quickly."
Dam! Just got call we lost 2 Live crew legend Fresh Kid Ice this morning! RIP
Campbell, who would become the group's most famous member, issued one of the early songs, "Throw the D!" based on a dance of that name. He described the genesis thusly in his autobiography, Book of Luke: "So Fresh Kid Ice, he came in and checked it out and went home and wrote it up and we laid it down in the studio... I was like, “Okay, shit’s hot. We got us a damn song. Let’s break this motherfucker.”
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Later, the band would run up against famed Broward Sheriff Nick Navarro, who tried to ban sales of the album. Navarro lost. Roy Orbison also sued 2 Live Crew, and the band won the right to parody other artists and sing obscene lyrics.
After 2 Live Crew broke up, Wong Won went solo with the album The Chinaman, produced by Campbell.
In the past few years, the group has reunited for several gigs, even playing the famed nightclub LIV. A video of that show is posted below.