Disco Four MC & Rucker Park Basketball Pioneer Greg Marius Passes Away At Age 59

Greg Marius is deeply responsible for two Harlem institutions: Hip-Hop and street basketball. This past weekend (April 22), Marius passed away after a long battle with cancer. He was 59 years old.

In the early 1980s, Greg joined Kurtis Blow and Spoonie Gee as one of Uptown Manhattan’s early Rap stars. As “Greg G,” he was a member of the Disco Four, a group that would release seminal singles both on Enjoy and Profile Records in the earliest days of Rap on wax.

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The quartet’s 1981 single “Do It, Do It, Do It” would later be sampled by 2 Live Crew, Juvenile, Poison Clan, and Flosstradamus. Moreover, the group’s Rap cover of Dazz Band’s “Let It Whip” (known as the “Whip Rap”) would become a meaningful hit to Cory Robbins’ Profile in its days before Run-D.M.C., Special Ed, or another Harlem clique, Rob Base & DJ E.Z. Rock.

During his 1980s Rap career, Marius participated in a Rap crew basketball event at St. Johns University in 1980. According to The New York Daily News, there, he realized the draw and excitement of entertainers using athletics. In turn, Greg launched the Entertainers Basketball League in 1982. The lifelong Harlem resident used his neighborhood’s Rucker Park to play host to the fanfare.

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By the ’90s and 2000s, the EBC league was legendary. Famous showdowns (and off-court conflicts) between Jay Z’s Roc-A-Fella squad and Fat Joe’s Terror Squad team made their way into song lyrics such as “Lean Back.” Meanwhile, 1994 Tupac Shakur-starring film Above The Rim explored a plot based around neighborhood figures and celebrities backing athletes for tournaments at Rucker.

Additionally, Marius was the owner of the Rooftop Skating Rink—the popular late 1980s venue referenced in Nas’ hit “Made You Look.”

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This weekend, DJ Eclipse’s Rap Is Outta Control show included a memorial and mix-dedication to Greg and Disco Four. The other Disco Four members are Ronnie D, DJ Al Bee, Mr. Troy, Country, and Kool Gee.