The rap pioneer died this morning in Miami.
Won died in a Miami hospital at 7:50am this morning due to an unnamed medical condition, according to the band’s manager. Fellow 2 Live Crew member Uncle Luke confirmed Won’s death on Twitter.
My Condolence goes out to the family Chris Wong Wong Fresh Kid Ice of the 2 Live Crew who just passed away people we lost a legend
— LUTHER R CAMPBELL (@unclelukereal1) July 13, 2017
A pioneer of hip-hop and Miami bass, Won was the only 2 Live Crew rapper to appear on every album. He is credited as the first popular rapper of Asian descent, something he referenced in many songs by giving himself the nickname “Chinaman” which later became the name of his first solo album and record label.
Won’s health issues were never widely discussed, but in 2009 and 2010 he suffered a pair of strokes which required him to retrain himself to walk and speak.
Won’s work in 2 Live Crew extends to early 1st amendment battles for their sexually explicit lyrics on releases like As Nasty As They Wanna Be, the first album to be deemed legally obscene (it was later overturned). They later followed it with Banned In The USA, arguing for the free speech rights on the title track while flipping a sample from Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The USA.
Listen to more of Won’s work below.