Prince Markie Dee. Kool Rock Ski. Buff The Human Beat Box. The Fat Boys. Ring a bell. Yeah you heard of them. At least some of you old heads like myself have. You think you know but you have no idea. These dudes weren’t a novelty act in the beginning. Before they was twisting with Chubby Checker, playing touch football with William “The Refrigerator” Perry and creating on screen hijinks with Ralph Bellamy and the nigga who was sticking Laura in that soap opera. (Lucille my grandma kept the kid up on Ryan’s Hope and them other ABC joints). They were a true rap powerhouse.
Back then it was hard to touch Run-DMC but they duked it out with Whodini for second banana status. You cocker spaniel dogs couldn’t touch their early catalogue: “Can You Feel It”; “Stick ‘Em (Buh-stick-‘em-ha-ha-stick-‘em!); “Fat Boys”; “Human Beat Box” their 1984 jump-off had some filler but it was tighter than Beyonce’s hair weave on tour. The fun fact was Kurtis Blow who was tight that his protégé DJ Run was outshining the master provided all the early beats. Payback is a mutha, Russell.
The original big niggas from Brooklyn had some other heat: “All You Can Eat”; “In The House”; “Jail House Rap” (which a lot of you rappers today can relate to. Ha!) The fucked up thing about all this is the CD treatment of these pioneering dudes. You’d be hard-pressed to find a Fat Boys disc without some digging. As far as I know all their good early albums aren’t available in their entirety on compact disc. Your best bet is to dig for the 1997 Rhino comp that best justly gives them their due: All Meat No Filler: The Best of Fat Boys. (It’s got a 100 hundred bucks or so ebay tag to boot!)
See even their greatest hits has some kind of goofy title. Clowning them. Yeah these guys had dollar signs in their eyes and went Hollyweird at the first opportunity but I got a soft spot for those chubbsters. I think I even did a Fat Boys feature in one of my early XXL’s (damned if I could remember which one). They’re probably hip-hop’s most misunderstood but hugely successful (no pun intended) acts from the era before the Golden era.
I wouldn’t hold my breath for a Hip-Hop Honors award but at least YN thought about y’all and acknowledged the legacy on a Saturday night. RIP to Queen Pen’s baby’s daddy.
Sidebar: Prince Markie Dee’s dolo latter-day hit “Typical Reasons (Swing My Way)” was tighter than Erykah Badu’s