Released in May 1984, the hip-hop group The Fat Boys released their self-titled debut album on Sutra Records. Consisting of rappers Prince Markie Dee (who was never that fat) and Kool Rock Ski plus Buff Love, The Human Beat Box, the trio were still in their teens when this album came out, which makes their skills even more impressive, in my opinion. Produced by hip-hop pioneer Kurtis Blow, the album featured just seven songs, which was pretty standard for albums at the time.
The album opens with the classic JAIL HOUSE RAP.
The opening verses are humorous with the two rappers getting arrested for stealing food. But listen to that final verse, where they get serious about the consequences of a life of crime. That’s actually kinda deep. And I love the music, especially the piano solos.
They follow this up with STICK ‘EM, with Markie Dee and Kool Rock Ski spitting typical b-boy braggadocio lyrics and praising the skill of the Human Beat Box, who provides the beats (with his mouth). At the time this was revolutionary (yeah, I know Doug E Fresh said he did it first) and the song just sounds like the boys are having a great time.
And then CAN YOU FEEL IT which is another playful song, over an uptempo melodical beat.
Those three songs made up “SIDE A” and then “SIDE B” opens with the title track:
THE PLACE TO BE is another fun song. And then HUMAN BEAT BOX which, like Stick ‘Em, is primarily about showing off Buff Love’s Human Beat Box skills. For younger readers, keep in mind, that this was first time the mainstream audience had heard anything like this, the very concept of beatboxing was new (yeah, Doug E Fresh says he was doing it first, but Fat Boys were the first on record), so it was quite revolutionary, and helped make the group even more appealing.
The albums closes out with DON’T YOU DOG ME, which the group would perform in the classic film KRUSH GROOVE
Overall, yes, the lyrical content of this album is pretty simplistic. None of these boys would be compared to Rakim. But their youthful enthusiasm shined through in each song, making this album almost infectious. And combined with the sophisticated instrumentation, this album is a certified classic.
Chacebook rating: 5 STARS