Mister Cee, Pioneering Brooklyn D.J., Dies at 57

Mister Cee, Pioneering Brooklyn D.J., Dies at 57


Mister Cee, a disc jockey who was an integral figure in New York City’s booming 1990s hip-hop scene and was an early champion of the Notorious B.I.G., has died. He was 57.

His death was confirmed on Wednesday by Skip Dillard, the brand manager at WXBK 94.7 The Block NYC, where Mister Cee had a show. No cause was given.

Mister Cee, whose head-bopping mixes reverberated on New York radio for decades, was a hit D.J. on New York City’s Hot 97 for more than 20 years before leaving the station in 2014. He was the executive producer of the Notorious B.I.G.’s debut album, “Ready to Die.”

Born Calvin Lebrun in August 1966 in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, Mister Cee grew up at his grandparents’ home and took to the turntables under the mentorship of an uncle who was a D.J., he told Rock The Bells, a satellite radio show, in November.

He added that his early influences came from the radio, listening to the likes of the hip-hop acts World Famous Supreme Team and Awesome Two.

“This turned into my passion for deejaying and having that dream that one day I wanted to be on the radio,” he said.

Mister Cee lived out the dream on Hot 97 before leaving the station, citing the station’s new musical direction.

“I might be the answer for now, but I don’t think I’ll be the answer five or 10 years from now,” he told The Times in 2014.

Chris Green, a promoter at Capitol Musical Group who had known the D.J. since the mid-90s, said in an interview with The New York Times that year that Mister Cee “was the glue between the old and the new” on Hot 97.

Mister Cee first resigned from the station for a brief period in 2013 after it was revealed that he had solicited the services of transgender prostitutes.

Questions about his sexuality rankled the hip-hop community, which has long struggled with homophobia. He briefly returned to the station before ultimately leaving in 2014.

Mister Cee, still a highly-respected figure, continued spinning records in clubs and on other radio programs. Before he died, he had his own show playing throwbacks on 94.7 The Block NYC.

After his death was announced Wednesday, the station honored Mister Cee by playing a recording of his 2022 mix paying tribute to the Notorious B.I.G. for what would have been late rapper’s 50th birthday.

Before the Notorious B.I.G., the D.J. had worked with Big Daddy Kane. Mister Cee is also credited with helping promote the careers of 50 Cent and other rap stars.

A full list of Mister Cee’s survivors was not immediately available.

In an interview on the Kitchen Talk podcast published in 2021, Mister Cee showed the hosts a picture of himself at 3 years old in which he is holding a 45 r.p.m. record. He noted that his father had given him the photo before he died in 1993, the same year Mr. Cee joined Hot 97.

He added: “And he said to me, ‘I knew this is what you was going to do.’”


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