Mar 30, 2016

Forgotten Folks - The FAT BOYS

If you listened to rap music in the 1980s, there's no doubt that you remember the Fat Boys.  And how could you not?  They were a larger than life trio (no pun intended) that not only blew up the pop charts, but wiggled their way into pop culture along the way.

The members of the Fat Boys consisted of Mark Morales, a.k.a. Prince Markie Dee, Damon Wimbley a.k.a. Kool Rock Ski, and last but not least, Darren Robinson a.k.a. Buff Love.. better known as The Human Beat Box.  The three friends grew up rapping in the same neighborhood, and when Darren's family couldn't afford a drum set for him, he perfected mimicking percussion beats with his mouth for Markie Dee and Kool Rock to rap to.

The group originally called themselves The Disco three, and actually won their first recording contract by winning a rap contest at radio city music hall.  It was during an early European tour when their manager received a $350.00 hotel bill for extra breakfasts the Disco Three has consumed.  It was at that point when he suggested they change the groups name to The Fat Boys!

Out of all the rappers I listened to back in the 80's, The Fat Boys were my favorite.  While rapping was a lot different back in the 80's, there is one constant I've noticed since then, and that is rappers who take themselves too seriously.  The Fat Boys did anything but that!  They also had a style that was all their own, that many times strayed from the conventional rappers of the day.  They weren't ashamed of who they were, had a good time in everything they did, and rapped about it in a humorous and non vulgar way.  That positive vibe they were throwing out was picked up by millions of fans, and they had an incredibly successful musical career throughout the entire decade of the 80's.

Solidified in pop culture..
The Fat Boys were everywhere in the 80's, and were a force that could not be ignored.  They co-starred in the 1985 hip hop movie Krush Groove with RUN DMC, were the stars of their own movie "The Disorderlies", and made appearances on many hit shows of the time like Miami Vice.  Below are few collaborations you may or may not remember..

In 1988 during the height of The Nightmare on Elm Street craze, The Fat Boys recorded a single entitled "Are you ready for Freddy?"  Robert Englund who played Freddy Kruger, even co-starred in the music video with the boys.

In 1987 The Fat Boys recorded a remake of The Surfari's song Wipeout with the Beach Boys.  The song was an instant hit and got lots of playtime on the radio.  It was a fun song that I remember lots of people playing at barbecues and parties.

Another fun song the Fat Boys did was The Twist.  They sang it with Chubby Checker who recorded his original version almost thirty years earlier.  The interesting thing about this song, as with their single Wipeout, was that it appealed to people who didn't necessarily care for rap music.  The Fat Boys snagged a whole new demographic of music fans, including those who were a little bit older.

What happened after the 80's..
Prince Markie Dee broke off from the Fat Boys in 1990 to pursue a solo singing career with modest success.  He then found his forte successfully producing music for other acts such as Mary J. Blige.  Kool Rock Ski and The Human Beat Box kept the group together as a duo, recorded one last album in 1991, and disbanded shortly thereafter.  Kool Rock Ski dropped some serious pounds, got physically fit, and even became a personal trainer!

In 1994, all three members of the group were talking about a Fat Boys reunion and new album, when Buff Love was diagnosed with lymphedema.  On December 10th of the same year, Buff passed away at the age of 28 due to cardiac arrest.  Buff was referred to as "The original Human Beat Box", and served as the foundation for beat-boxing in rap.  Back in the 80's, kids would try their hardest to mimic his technique, and I still see kids to this very day attempting to beat-box!

While both surviving members Kool Rock and Markie Dee have each lost a lot of weight, they are pounding out future plans for a new Fat Boys album. I heard there are even considering  doing a reality show to search for the next Fat Boy.  If you'd like to see what The Fat Boys are up to, catch up with them on Twitter.. The Fat Boys on Twitter

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