Guest Post: Fresh Kid Ice

Guest Post by Randall Park

I'm on vacation! Taking a much-needed break. But don't worry. While I'm away, I've enlisted some great guest bloggers to keep things going around here. Here's Randall Park looking back at a forgotten rap "hero." (Clearly, Randall did not heed my admonition that my mom reads my blog.)

Hello, I'm Randall Park - writer, actor, humanitarian, and vegetarian. As a proud member of the Asian American community, I recognize the importance in paying tribute to our leaders and pioneers. But all too often, some of our best and brightest get overlooked. I'd like to thank Angry Asian Man for giving me the opportunity to use this space to pay tribute to one of our forgotten greats.

When we think of the quintessential Asian American musician, many of us think of Yo-Yo Ma. Sure, the man deserves our respect. Yes, he's pretty good with the cello. Yes, he's an internationally renowned Grammy award-winning virtuoso. But I pose this question: Can Yo-Yo Ma rap about subjects like sex and other things, but mostly about sex? Probably not. I offer a different name to place atop the pantheon of great Asian Americans in music: Chris Wong Won. You may know him better by his pseudonym "Fresh Kid Ice". Most likely, you know him as I've known him - "that Chinese lookin' dude in 2 Live Crew."

Despite being a founding member of the multiplatinum rap group, there is very little information available about Fresh Kid Ice. He was born in Trinidad. He is of Chinese and Afro Trinidadian descent. He was raised in Brooklyn, but he found fame and fortune in the Miami Bass rap scene. In most of his videos, it is apparent that he has no use of his left arm, presumably due to having suffered a major stroke in his earlier years. It is also clear that the man liked to rap about sex. A lot. Take these couplets from his opening verse in 1989's "Me So Horny"...

Girls always ask me why I fuck so much
I say 'What's wrong baby doll with a quick nut?'
Cause you're the one and you shouldn't be mad
I won't tell your momma if you don't tell your dad
I know he'll be disgusted when he sees your pussy busted
Won't your momma be so mad if she knew I got that ass?
I'm a freak in heat, a dog without warning
My appetite's for sex, 'cause me so horny

Was the song crude? Yes. Racist? Yes. Somewhat nonsensical? Absolutely. But what is most significant about this song and the explicit content of 2 Live Crew's 1989 album As Nasty As They Wanna Be, is that because of it, the group was successfully prosecuted on obscenity charges. The album was consequentially banned in their home state of Florida. Folks who sold the record found themselves in jail, while the group members themselves faced constant arrest. But like good Americans, they fought the charges, and in 1992 the Supreme Court overturned the ruling. In an ironic twist, 2 Live Crew became less synonymous with dirty raps and more associated with the fight for our First Amendment right to free speech.

They went on to sell over two million copies of As Nasty As They Wanna Be, making Chris Wong Won, aka Fresh Kid Ice, arguably the most recognizable Asian American in popular music at the time. It's a wonder why his own Asian community hasn't given him more recognition. Especially considering how much he himself has embraced his own "Asianess"...

In 1992, Fresh Kid Ice released his first solo album entitled The Chinaman. With song titles like "Long Dick Chinese", Chris Wong Won makes his message clear: He is proud of his Chinese heritage. (He is also clearly proud of his dick. Probably more proud of that than his heritage, but still.) You gotta give the man props for accepting a side of him that most rappers of that era would've kept under wraps.

Unfortunately, the album went on to sell about two copies. (I know, because I bought two copies.) Since then, Wong Won released another record entitled Freaky Chinese, and he is currently the founder, president and CEO of Chinaman Records. (We get it Chris. You're Chinese.) Other than that, I'm not sure what the guy's up to.

In searching to find out more about Chris Wong Won, I stumbled upon this unbelievable video of 2 Live Crew performing on the Phil Donahue show in 1990:

Upon watching this video (about 20 times), I came to a realization. I completely understand why the community hasn't embraced this guy. He's misogynistic, he calls himself a "Chinaman," and ultimately, he's not the best rapper out there. In fact, he's pretty bad. But I will say this. Like him or not, Chris Wong Won, aka Fresh Kid Ice, is one of ours. And though he may not be Yo-Yo Ma, he is a lot more interesting. At least to me.

Randall Park is an actor and a writer. He currently lives in Mar Vista, California with his lovely wife Jae.

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