Okay, let’ keep it 100 right here. If you are a true hip hop fan, not of just rap music, but the entire culture, you understand the significance of the loss experienced by the culture at the passing of Fresh Kid Ice, the co-founder of one of the most controversial rap groups in history — 2 Live Crew. While many will immediately point to Kid Ice’s Asian descent as being unique and special, and it was, his gift and passion for the music he produced are what set him apart from most of his contemporaries. Kid Ice’s willingness to push past the status quo and engage in that which was considered politically and socially incorrect in order to engage an audience who embraced its ideology is what made him special. His genius transcended race and nationality.
Allow me to set the stage, it is the mid-1980s and hip hop is experiencing its own revolution, as New York’s vice grip on the culture is being loosened and the world is about to experience groups like The Geto Boys, NWA and yes, 2 Live Crew. Not only were groups from other geographical locations emerging, but the music, message and focus was evolving. NWA introduced a message that was counter-establishment, the Geto Boys introduced a Southern Swag that had been ignored to that point, and 2 Live Crew introduced the freedom to party — allowing listeners to release their cultural and social inhibition in order to embrace their freaky side.
Combining banging beats that listeners could dance to with provocative lyrics was 2 Live Crews claim to fame. It can’t be denied that group member, Luther “Uncle Luke” Campbell received the lion’s share of the exposure, but no one can deny the impact of Fresh Kid Ice’s genius in the creation and sustaining the strength of the group and its cultural impact.
Fresh Kid Ice and Mr. Mixx formed the group in the mid-1980s while being stationed in Los Angeles, California, while he was still enlisted in the United States Air Force. After being discharged from the Air Force, Mixx and Chris Wong Won, who would later become known as Fresh Kid Ice would relocate to Miami and launch an entire musical movement. It was shortly thereafter that Luther Campbell and Brother Marquis and other joined the group.
The music revolution that was spawned by Fresh Kid Ice would lead to the emergence of notable names like Trina, Trick Daddy and D.J. Khalid and others. In an interview with Vibe, Dr. Mixx revealed that he and Kid Ice were military brothers that took their brotherhood to civilian life and literally changed the world. It is clear that the hip hop industry and the music world of music in general has suffered a major blow in the loss of such an influential icon as Kid Ice.
Even Uncle Luke himself was almost at a loss for words when attempting to describe the genius and impact that Fresh Kid Ice had on not just the music in Miami, but hip hop music in general. Kid Ice represented expressive freedom in music — the capacity to go well-beyond the status quo and what is deemed acceptable to experience the extraordinary really of unbridled passion. He will be sorely missed and eternally celebrated.