Home Arts & Culture Mister Cee, legendary hip-hop DJ, dies at 57

Mister Cee, legendary hip-hop DJ, dies at 57

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From the early days of Notorious B.I.G. to the rise of 50 Cent, legendary hip-hop DJ Mister Cee was a pivotal figure in the New York City rap scene and the careers of some of its greatest performers.

The entertainer, born Calvin Lebrun, has died at 57, confirmed Audacy, the parent company of 94.7 The Block — the radio station that Mr. Cee had worked at and had a weekday show playing throwback hits.

“Tonight I share the sad news of the sudden passing of our 94.7 The Block colleague & friend, Mister Cee,” Market President Chris Oliviero said in a statement on Wednesday. “A true iconic personality that left a lasting mark on the music and lifestyle culture of New York City and beyond.”

Skip Dillard, 94.7 The Block’s brand manager, also commented on Mr. Cee’s passing in statement, adding “The Block family are heartbroken but thankful for a chance to work with one of the most influential figures in NYC contemporary music history!”

Dillard also posted a heartfelt message on X, sharing the news.

“Your legacy will live on,” Dillard captioned a photo of the DJ. “God Bless your family. You’ve earned your rest. Well done….@djmistercee.” 

No cause of death was given. 

The Brooklyn-born Mister Cee was an influential DJ for 21 years at New York City’s famed Hot 97. The radio station also released a statement on Wednesday about his death. 

“As a family at HOT 97 and WBLS, we’re deeply saddened by the passing of our beloved Mister Cee,” the statement reads. “He wasn’t just a DJ; he was a pillar of our stations, bringing joy to countless listeners with his legendary ‘Throwback at Noon’ and ‘Friday Night Live’ sets.”

“Mr. Cee’s influence stretched far beyond the airwaves, shaping the very fabric of NYC’s DJ culture,” the statement continued. “Our hearts are heavy as we send our love and condolences to his family and the fans whose lives he touched through his music. Rest easy, Mr. Cee. Your legacy will live forever.” 

Mister Cee was born in 1966 in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood in Brooklyn. His interest in becoming a DJ was fostered by his uncle and a neighbor, while also listening to the World Famous Supreme Team on the radio, according to a November 2023 interview with the SiriusXM throwback hip-hop station Rock the Bells. 

Mister Cee rose to fame as the DJ for popular hip-hop artist Big Daddy Kane in the late 1980s and then helped introduce late rap legend Notorious B.I.G. as the executive producer of his 1994 classic “Ready to Die” album. 

“I knew he was dope,” Mister Cee told Rock the Bells. “I didn’t think he would become what he would before passing away. All I did at the time was try to get anybody and everybody to listen to him.” 

He also helped launch the careers of luminaries like Jay-Z, Alicia Keys and 50 Cent, according to Hot 97. 

“R.I.P to the legend MR. Cee God bless him, to all his family and friends I send my condolences,” 50 Cent wrote on X

The DJ left Hot 97 in 2013 after being arrested on charges of soliciting sex workers, some of whom were transgender. His departure put a spotlight on the homophobia and transphobia of the rap scene after he was shamed and criticized for his sexual practices. He later returned to the station before leaving for good in 2014. 

Fans mourned his death after it was announced on April 10 on 94.7 The Block, which played Notorious B.I.G’s “Sky’s the Limit” in his memory, according to Audacy.

“DJ Mr Cee was essential to my 90s hiphop mixtape collection,” one fan wrote on X

“I keep hearin Kane in my head sayin, “Mister Cee step to em.” RIP Mister Cee,” another fan wrote in reference to the Big Daddy Kane song “Ain’t No Half-Steppin’.” 

“D— man #RIP to the Legend and good friend MR Cee Fly High my Brother,” rapper Memphis Bleek wrote

“I ain’t even know Mr Cee personally but he was literally apart of my day d— near every day,” a fan wrote in a post on X

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