DJ Mister Cee, 'legendary' New York City disc jockey, dead at 57

He served as the DJ for rapper Big Daddy Kane and is credited with helping to discover The Notorious B.I.G.

ByLisa Respers France, CNN
Thursday, April 11, 2024
6abc Philadelphia 24/7 Live Stream
Action News, AccuWeather and Entertainment

NEW YORK -- Mister Cee, a beloved and influential figure in hip-hop, who served as the DJ for rapper Big Daddy Kane and is credited with helping to discover The Notorious B.I.G., has died, according to his former employer, New York's Hot 97 hip-hop radio station.

He was 57.

"As a family at HOT 97 and WBLS, we're deeply saddened by the passing of our beloved Mister Cee," reads the statement posted on Hot 97's site. "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 goes on to read. "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."

No cause of death was shared.

Born Calvin LeBrun, he hailed from Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, and it was there he would make the connections that would factor heavily into his life and career.

DJ Mister Cee in 2021
Jason Mendez/Getty Images via CNN Newsource

He became the official DJ for his high school friend, famed rapper Big Daddy Kane, working on his 1988 debut album "Long Live The Kane," after rising on the hip-hop music scene in New York City.

LeBrun's childhood friend Kevin "DJ 50 Grand" Griffin helped rapper Christopher Wallace record his demo, which launched him into infamy as The Notorious B.I.G., aka Biggie Smalls.

"The first time I met him was when his DJ 50 Grand, rest in peace, [DJ 50 Grand died in 2022] brought Big to my house. The plan was we were going to redo the basement demo that he and 50 Grand put together," LeBraun told Rock the Bells last year. "Big was very shy. He would always talk with his head down and say, 'Yo man, don't be promising me nothing, man. If you say you're going to do something, do it.' And I'm like, nah, we're going to redo the demo."

He not only received credit with helping to get Wallace the attention that made him a star, but also served as an associate producer on the rapper's debut 1994 album, "Ready To Die."

LeBrun went on to have a popular career as a DJ and radio personality for Hot 97, so much so that Jay-Z name checked him and Funkmaster Flex on his 2009 single "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)" by saying, "I made this just for Flex and Mister Cee."

(The-CNN-Wire & 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.)