|Fresh Kid Ice|
Fresh Kid Ice in the mid-1980s
Christopher Wong Won|
May 29, 1964
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
July 13, 2017 (aged 53)|
Miami, Florida, U.S.A.
|Other names||The Chinaman|
Christopher Wong Won (May 29, 1964 – July 13, 2017), better known by his stage names Fresh Kid Ice and The Chinaman, was a Chinese Trinidadian-American rapper, Miami bass recording artist, producer, author, and Asian hip hop pioneer. Wong Won was a co-founder and original member of controversial rap group 2 Live Crew, appearing on all of the group's albums from 1985 to 1998. Wong Won was born and spent his early childhood in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, before emigrating to the United States and settling in Brooklyn, New York with his family when he was 12. In his early twenties, Wong Won received recognition as a rapper while enlisted in the United States Air Force and stationed in California, with fellow Airmen Amazing Vee (Yuri Vielot) and Mr. Mixx (David Hobbs), with whom he co-founded 2 Live Crew.
Early 2 Live Crew singles gained traction in Florida, so much so that Miami-based concert promoter, Luther Campbell, invited them to perform in Florida. After achieving a level of success performing in Florida, Wong Won and Hobbs relocated there. By 1986, the group released the single "Throw The ‘D’", with Wong Won solely writing and performing the rap. It is now considered the blueprint of Miami bass. Later that year, 2 Live Crew released their Gold debut studio album, The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are with rapper Brother Marquis (Mark D. Ross) and Campbell as the group's producer and hype man. The album established the group's signature style of comical sexually explicit lyrics. 2 Live Crew's third studio album As Nasty As They Wanna Be (1989), went Platinum, and was met with considerable controversy which helped turn the group into a major rap act. A $3 ruled the album legally obscene, with all band members, charged and criminally prosecuted, but all later acquitted. 2 Live Crew would release five subsequent studio albums, at varying degrees of success, with different line-ups, but Wong Won would appear in all incarnations of the group.
Wong Won was the first prominent Asian and Asian American rapper, releasing his first solo album, The Chinaman in 1992. In the early 2000s, he released three additional solo studio albums and is credited with discovering rapper Flo Rida. During 2006–07, he and Ross reformed 2 Live Crew. The duo began to tour, release singles and made announcements of two new albums which remained unreleased. During this time, he published his autobiography My Rise 2 Fame (2015). The following year, he left group. In 2017, he released his final project Breaking Glass Ceilings Volume 1., and died in Miami, Florida of cirrhosis of the liver on July 13.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 2.1 1984: Military service, founding 2 Live Crew and Asian Hip hop pioneer
- 2.2 1985–1986: Miami Bass pioneer and 2 Live Crew's breakthrough
- 2.3 1988–1991: Subsequent fame and controversy
- 2.4 1992–2004: Continued success and solo projects
- 2.5 2005-2010: Reforming and reuniting with 2 Live Crew
- 2.6 2010-2017: Final projects
- 3 Health issues
- 4 Death
- 5 Legacy
- 6 Discography
- 7 External links
- 8 Bibliography
- 9 References
Early life[edit | edit source]
Wong Won was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on May 29, 1964. Wong Won's family is of Trinidadian Chinese ancestry, with his Asian heritage originating primarily in Hong Kong. Both of his grandmothers were of African ancestry.
In 1976, at the age of 12, Wong Won and his family emigrated from Trinidad and Tobago to the United States, settling in Brooklyn, New York.
Career[edit | edit source]
1984: Military service, founding 2 Live Crew and Asian Hip hop pioneer[edit | edit source]
In 1984, while stationed at March Air Force Base near Riverside, California, Wong Won met fellow musicians and U.S. Air Force Airmen Yuri Vielot (Amazing Vee) and David Hobbs (Mr. Mixx). The trio went on to form the rap group 2 Live Crew. The group would perform in small, local venues on weekends, unbeknownst to their superiors at the base.
2 Live Crew eventually released their first singles, "The Revelation" and "2 Live Beat Box", on their own label "Fresh Beat Records" in 1984. The A-side of "The Revelation" featured Amazing Vee (Vielot) as the sole rapper, while the B-Side, "2 Live Beat Box", featured Wong Won, as Fresh Kid Ice.
"The Revelation" and "2 Live Beat Box" became popular in Florida, so much so that in 1984, 2 Live Crew, minus Vielot, who left the group, eventually relocated to Miami at the behest of local concert promoter Luther Campbell, after Wong Won and Hobbs were discharged from the Air Force.
1985–1986: Miami Bass pioneer and 2 Live Crew's breakthrough[edit | edit source]
In 1985, 2 Live Crew released their next single, "What I Like" on Fresh Beat Records, with Wong Won appearing as the only rapper on the track. That same year, 2 Live Crew entered into a joint venture with Miami-based rap producer Luther Campbell who formed Luke Skyywalker Records with the group. Shortly after forming the record label, Campbell joined 2 Live Crew as producer, artist, and hype man. In April of that same year, 1995, rapper Brother Marquis (Mark D. Ross) joined 2 Live Crew, forming the most well known and recognized line up of the group (Wong Won, Ross, Hobbs, and Campbell).
In January 1986, 2 Live Crew released the single "Throw The 'D'" with "Ghetto Bass" on the B-side, with Wong Won contributing the lyrics and performing the raps on both tracks. The single became an influential blueprint as to how future Miami bass songs were written and produced. Wong Won's solo performances on these releases made him the first Miami Bass rapper.
On July 25, 1986, the reconfigured 2 Live Crew became popular locally and nationally with the release of their Gold-certified debut album, The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are. Notorious for sexually explicit lyrics, that made many DJs of the time uncomfortable, the album made Wong Won and his bandmates rap superstars.
1988–1991: Subsequent fame and controversy[edit | edit source]
In 1988, 2 Live Crew released their second album, Move Somethin' It was also certified Gold and featured the singles "Move Somethin'" and "Do Wah Diddy Diddy". The album improved on the charts from the previous album, making in to #68 on the Billboard 200 and #20 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums charts. A separate ”clean” version of the album, suitable for radio play, was released in addition to the explicit version.
2 Live Crew's third album As Nasty As They Wanna Be (1989), became the group's most successful commercial studio album and was certified double Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. The album's single "Me So Horny" peaked at 26 of the Billboard Top 100 chart. A clean version of the album, As Clean As They Wanna Be was released concurrently with the explicit version.
In 1990, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida ruled As Nasty As They Wanna Be to be legally obscene, becoming the first album in history to be so declared by a federal court; this ruling was later overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. An obscenity trial followed, where all of the defendants, including Wong Won, were eventually acquitted.
In late 1990, following the verdict in the obscenity trial, 2 Live Crew released their fourth studio album, Banned in the U.S.A.. The album included the hits "Do the Bart" and the title track which peaked at 20 on the Top 100 chart. The eponymous title single referred to the earlier federal court obscenity ruling regarding the group's previous album As Nasty As They Wanna Be. Bruce Springsteen granted the group permission to interpolate his song "Born in the U.S.A." for the single. Banned in the U.S.A. was also the first album to bear the RIAA-standard Parental Advisory warning sticker.
Sports Weekend: As Nasty as They Wanna Be, Pt. 2, featuring the single "Pop That Coochie," which reached 58 on the Hot 100 chart, was released by 2 Live Crew in 1991. The group's sixth album was a sequel of sorts to As Nasty As They Wanna Be, and was also accompanied by a clean version, Sports Weekend: As Clean As They Wanna Be, Pt. 2.
Sports Weekend: As Nasty as They Wanna Be, Pt. 2 would be the last studio album to include all of the most well known members of the group, Wong Won, Ross, Hobbs and Campbell. Wong Won would go on to be the only original member of the group to appear on every subsequent album released by the 2 Live Crew.
1992–2004: Continued success and solo projects[edit | edit source]
On July 15, 1992, Wong Won released his debut solo studio album, The Chinaman on Effect Records, a division of Luke Records. The album featured singles "Dick 'Em Down," "I'll Be There," and "Freak 'Em Down" (the clean version of "Dick 'Em Down,"). The Chinaman is noted for being an early hip hop album to embrace an Asian heritage. With songs like "Long Dick Chinese," Wong Won inverted Asian stereotypes into prideful declarations of self-identity, showing the way for Asians to exist in hip-hop. The Chinaman sold over 200,000 copies with very limited promotion. On the Billboard charts, the album peaked at #38 and stayed two weeks on the Heatseekers Albums chart. The Chinaman was also on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for ten weeks, peaking at #56.
Deal with This was independently released in 1993 on the Macola Records label, as a 2 Live Crew/Rock On Crew album, and was produced entirely by original 2 Live Crew member and DJ Hobbs. The singles that appeared on this compilation album were previously unreleased tracks that Wong Won and Hobbs had recorded before Ross and Campbell joined the group. Wong Won is the only rapper featured aside from three early tracks with former member Vielot.
In 1994, Wong Won reunited with Campbell, and local Miami-based rapper Verb, to release the album Back at Your Ass for the Nine-4, as "The New 2 Live Crew." The album was the last 2 Live Crew related project to feature Campbell. Hobbs was also not involved in the production or release of the album, and is the only 2 Live Crew project released without Ross' involvement. The album became a moderate hit, peaking at #52 on the Billboard 200 chart and #9 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The album produced two charting singles, "Hell, Yeah" and "You Go Girl," which were also made into music videos.
Shortly after the recording of Back at Your Ass for the Nine-4, Wong Won, Ross and Hobbs reunited to record "Hoochie Mama" for the soundtrack of the popular 1995 movie Friday. The soundtrack reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, where it held its position for two weeks, and remained on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart for six weeks.
In 1996, Wong Won reunited with Ross and Hobbs as the 2 Live Crew, and released the group's seventh studio album Shake a Lil' Somethin' whose hit song of the same name, peaked at #72 on the Top 100 chart and #11 on the Hot Rap Songs|Hot Rap Singles chart. Two of the album's singles charted: "Do the Damn Thing", which made it to #24 on the Hot Rap Singles chart, and "Be My Private Dancer", which peaked at #34. Shake A Lil' Somethin' would be the last 2 Live Crew album to feature original member and DJ Hobbs.
In 1998, Wong Won, along with Ross, released The Real One, the eighth and final 2 Live Crew studio album to date. The album's singles "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, #9 on the Hot Rap Songs chart, while the title single "The Real One" featuring rapper Ice-T, the only track on the album that Wong Won does not appear, peaked at #60 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and #9 on the Hot Rap Songs charts.
In 2000, Wong Won released his second solo album, Still Nasty, on his own independent record label, Chinaman Records, which was founded that same year. The main single from the album, "I Wanna Dance Y'all", was also made into a popular music video, that, due to its sexually explicit content, could only be played on the late night cable television show, BET Uncut. The video became one of BET Uncut's favorites and was noted for helping to launch the show. Wong Won would go on to be a regular fixture on BET Uncut, where he frequently appeared to promote his later projects. In 2003, Wong Won released his third studio album Stop Playin on his Chinaman Records label, which was manufactured and distributed by NewHotMusic.com/PGE That same year, Wong Won was a featured artist alongside rappers Esham, Fish 'N' Grits, as well as Insane Clown Posse, on the song "Wicked Wild" on the Psychopathics from Outer Space 2 compilation album.
In 2004, while in the audience of a Miami nightclub's hip hop show, Wong Won took notice of a then unknown Flo Rida and asked him to be his hype man and back-up rapper. After accepting the offer, Flo Rida joined Wong Won for a show in Hawaii, and toured together during 2004–05. The pair developed a long lasting friendship, with Flo Rida considering this period in his career as his "schooling."
On October 5, 2004, Wong Won released his fourth and final studio album, Freaky Chinese, that featured several tracks with Flo Rida, as a member of the Groundhoggz, as well as Insane Clown Posse. The album was also released on Wong Won's Chinaman Records label.
2005-2010: Reforming and reuniting with 2 Live Crew[edit | edit source]
During 2006–07 Wong Won and Ross 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. Prior to Wong Won's death in 2017, the duo toured and released singles. In 2010, Wong Won and Ross briefly reunited with former bandmates Luther Campbell and Hobbs as 2 Live Crew, and were honored at the 2010 VH1 Hip-Hop Honors: The Dirty South Edition awards show.
2010-2017: Final projects[edit | edit source]
In late 2010, Wong Won and Ross released 2 Live Crew singles "I'm 2 Live" featuring rapper Mannie Fresh, "Cougar," and "Boom" featuring rapper E-40. The duo announced the pending release of an album, Just Wanna be Heard, that remains unreleased to this day.
In 2012, Wong Won released a solo single, "Twerk That.".
In 2014, Wong Won and Ross released the single "Take It Off," of which a music video was made with cameos by rappers Flo Rida, Trick Daddy, Trina, Mannie Fresh, and Flavor Flav. Later that year, Wong Won and Ross made cameo appearances in the Flo Rida music video "G.D.F.R." That same year, the duo announced the pending release of a new 2 Live Crew studio album Turn Me On, which remains unreleased.
In 2015, Wong Won published his well received autobiography My Rise 2 Fame. The book chronicled Wong Won's journey from U.S. Air Force Airman to the Hip hop scene, the 2 Live Crew's trials and tribulations with government officials, his escapades as an artist, his personal life, and his journey in the Miami Bass hip hop genre.
In late November 2016, Wong Won released the single "Dick in Ya Mouth".
On January 13, 2017, Wong Won released what would be his final project, a compilation album Breaking Glass Ceilings Volume 1. Notable artists on the album included rappers Threi, Chilly Chill, and JT Money.
Health issues[edit | edit source]
In 1988, shortly before the release of Move Somethin', Wong Won was involved in a near fatal automobile accident. His injuries included damage to his brachial plexus, which resulted in the loss of mobility in his left arm.
In 1999, while on tour with 2 Live Crew, the group was performing in a rave in New Orleans, the floor was wet and Wong Won took a fall where he broke his ankle. He went on to perform in a wheelchair for the remainder of the tour.
Wong Won suffered his first stroke on Thanksgiving Day in 2009, followed by a second stroke in early 2010. He had to retrain himself to walk and speak.
Death[edit | edit source]
On July 13, 2017, Wong Won died in a Miami VA Hospital at age 53 after experiencing acute respiratory failure and shock. Wong Won's death was attributed to cirrhosis of the liver, with the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner citing Hepatitis C and alcohol abuse as contributing factors to his death.
Legacy[edit | edit source]
While not the first to rap, Wong Won is noted for being the first Asian rapper to gain considerable commercial success, notoriety, sex symbol status, and first Asian American rapper noticed in Hip hop.
When 2 Live Crew started to gain traction in the mid to late 1980s, Wong Won noted that many fans had no clue that he was Asian until the group's music videos were released. When asked about Asians in hip hop in the early days, Wong Won mentioned that most of his Asian peers were involved in either disc jockeying or breakdancing.
Wong Won was the only noticeable Asian American rapper until the late 1990s, and is known to have help paved the way for others to follow, such as MC Jin, Dumbfoundead, Awkwafina, Anderson .Paak and 88rising.
Discography[edit | edit source]
Solo albums[edit | edit source]
Solo EPs/Singles[edit | edit source]
Compilation albums[edit | edit source]
|Breaking Glass Ceilings Volume 1
2 Live Crew studio albums (1986–1998)[edit | edit source]
|The 2 Live Crew Is What We Are
|As Nasty As They Wanna Be|
|Banned in the U.S.A.|
|Sports Weekend: As Nasty as They Wanna Be, Pt. 2|
|Back at Your Ass for the Nine-4
|Shake a Lil' Somethin'
|The Real One
[edit | edit source]
- Fresh Kid Ice on Facebook
- Fresh Kid Ice at the Internet Movie Database
- Fresh Kid Ice discography at Discogs
Bibliography[edit | edit source]
- My Rise 2 Fame. Delaware: Iconic Three Media Group. ISBN 0-9964-0140-7. https://www.amazon.ca/My-Rise-Fame-Autobiography-Legend-ebook/dp/B010NY9W06.
References[edit | edit source]
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- Bein, Kat (November 3, 2014). "Tootsie Rolls, 'Hoochie Mamas,' and Cars That Go Boom: The Story of Miami Bass". VICE. https://thump.vice.com/en_us/article/tootsie-rolls-hoochie-mamas-and-cars-that-go-boom-the-story-of-miami-bass. "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."
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