The Fat Boys
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The Fat Boys
The Fat Boys
|Also known as|
|Origin||New York City, New York, United States|
|Genres||Hip hop, electro-funk, beatbox|
|Years active||1983–1991, 2008–present|
|Associated acts||Run-D.M.C., Kurtis Blow|
|Members||Prince Markie Dee|
|Past members||Buff Love (deceased)|
The Fat Boys are an American hip hop trio from Brooklyn, New York City, that emerged in the early 1980s. The group was briefly known originally as the Disco 3, originally composed of Mark "Prince Markie Dee" Morales, Damon "Kool Rock-Ski" Wimbley and Darren "Buff Love" Robinson, who died of a heart attack during a bout with respiratory flu in 1995.
The trio is widely known for using beatbox in their songs. The group opened doors for beatboxers like Biz Markie and Doug E. Fresh. The Fat Boys was one of the first rap groups to release full-length rap albums, along with Run-D.M.C., Whodini and Kurtis Blow. Beloved for their comedic, self-deprecating rhymes, the group released 7 studio albums, 4 of which went Gold by RIAA.
The first two albums of the group were produced by the legendary Kurtis Blow, and they were successful due to the singles "Jail House Rap", "Can You Feel It?", "Fat Boys", "Stick 'Em", "Don't You Dog Me", "All You Can Eat", "The Fat Boys Are Back", "Pump It Up", and videos to them.
The album Crushin' received a Platinum status due to their loud single "Wipeout", which was recorded together with the American rock group The Beach Boys. The next album, Coming Back Hard Again, repeated the formula of the previous one and received a Gold status due to the successful single "The Twist (Yo, Twist)", recorded together with American rock 'n roll singer Chubby Checker. The album also included the theme song for the movie A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master, which featured Robert Englund performing as Freddy Krueger.
- Mark Morales, also known as "Prince Markie Dee"
- Damon Wimbley, also known as "Kool Rock-Ski" (born November 4, 1966)
- Darren Robinson, also known as "The Human Beat Box" (June 10, 1967 – December 10, 1995)
A hip-hop talent contest
In 1983, a Swiss-born promoter named Charles Stettler, the owner of his own label Tin Pan Apple, decided to make a hip-hop talent contest. To find a sponsor, the promoter went to WBLS radio station, which recommended him to a couple of sponsors. In the end, he persuaded the company Coca-Cola to finance a contest worth $300,000. For the next three months, contests were held to identify the winner in each boroughs of New York City every Saturday afternoon.
On May 23, 1983, was held the final of the contest entitled "Coca-Cola and WBLS present: The Tin Pan Apple After Dark Dance & Rap Contest!". It was decided to organize an event at Radio City Music Hall, and this was the first event in the history of the concert hall, which was attended by black artists. The host that evening was Mr. Magic from the famous radio program Rap Attack at the time. According to the terms of the competition, the winner signed a contract to a record deal. The Fat Boys members, then calling themselves The Disco 3, were unexpected winners. They won the contest with the song "Stick' Em".
Since the group did not have a manager, Charles Stettler took over this position. Stettler took the group to the European Bus Tour, where he told them to gain more weight. The concerts ended at 12 o'clock in the evening, and they could not get to the hotel until two o'clock in the morning, and only places like McDonald's and Burger King were open. So they gained weight. But since so much was happening, the group members did not even notice it on the tour and did not consider themselves fat. And once their manager offered them to call themselves The Fat Boys. On the occasion of the renaming of the group, was held a party at the Roseland Ballroom in New York.
Meeting Kurtis Blow
Charlie Stettler introduced the group to producer Kurtis Blow, who gave them his signature sound. To work on the album, Kurtis Blow recruited drum machine programmers of Run-D.M.C., Larry Smith and Davy "DMX" Reeves, both were of the best in making songs at the time. "Stick' Em" was the first song they recorded with Kurtis Blow.
The group's 1984 self-titled debut album, Fat Boys, is considered by many to be the first hip-hop album to feature such an element as beatbox. Darren "The Human Beat Box" Robinson was a pioneer in beatboxing, he used his mouth to create hip-hop percussion sounds. He and another rapper, Doug E. Fresh, popularized beatboxing, inspiring other artists to innovate, including Biz Markie.
Fresh Fest Tour '84
One day in 1984, Russell Simmons storming into Stettler's office and told him that he was going to make a Fresh Fest Tour '84 festival, in which his groups and break dancers would take part. And since Stettler raised $300,000 from Coca-Cola to finance his 1983 contest, Simmons wanted Stettler to do it again. But the young promoter could not return to the beverage company, so he called his only Swiss friend and asked him if there was anything the Swiss were trying to sell. Wrist watch Swatch turned out to be such a product. Stettler persuaded the company to finance a tour of $360,000, while the festival had to be renamed The Swatch Watch New York City Fresh Fest.
Russell Simmons didn't want to take The Fat Boys on the tour, because nobody heard of them at that point. Then Stettler went to an old Tower Records store on Broadway and handed out 5,000 flyers that read: "Guess the weight of The Fat Boys and the person who wins hits 800 cans of diet Pepsi and one dollar". Therefore, thousands of children lined up at the Tower Records store. Stettler put the group members on the scale, at that time they weighed 868 pounds (394 kg). In the end, the boy from Harlem won. Channel 2 for its news filmed this event on camera, including how pepsi-cola was delivered to Harlem. Then Stettler called Russell Simmons to show him such a group ad. In response, Simmons said that this is just a local advertising.
The next day, Stettler saw in the newspaper that The Jackson 5 was going to be reunited at a concert in October 1984. So he called his wife and part-time partner and asked her to write a press release saying that The Jackson 5 have picked an unknown group The Fat Boys as their opening act. As a result, Stettler himself distributed this press release across the city. The next morning, Stettler, together with the group The Fat Boys, got on the TV show Good Morning America, and when the host turns around to The Fat Boys and they don't know what to say, they just go: "Brrr, Stick' Em! Ha-ha-ha, Stick 'Em!", because it was the group's popular song at the time.
So Russell Simmons agreed to add The Fat Boys to the lineup, which included Run-D.M.C., Kurtis Blow, Whodini, Newcleus and The Dynamic Breakers. The first concert of the tour took place on Labor Day, September 3, 1984. For 27 concerts in the United States, the organizers managed to raise $3.5 million. The festival was accompanied by advertising on television.
Appearance in television and movies
At this time, the American office of the company Swatch was tasked with trying to advertise their product to American audiences. The company was known for using offbeat campaigns, and agreed to feature the Fat Boys in a commercial for the watches on MTV. The video "Brrr, Swatch ’Em!" was aired in December 1984. Swatch again featured The Fat Boys in a 1985 Christmas advertisement created by former MTV creative heads Alan Goodman and Fred Seibert. This commercial, "Swatch Watch Presents A Merry Christmas" was first broadcast in December 1985. These commercials were notable, because when they aired in December of 1984, MTV did not feature many hip-hop artists in their programming, having only started airing music videos from rap artists earlier that year with Run-D.M.C.’s crossover hit, “Rock Box.” Due to the success of these commercials, they would become frequent guests on MTV, pioneering a space for hip-hop artists to appear on the network and ultimately increasing hip hop’s popularity and legitimacy with MTV’s audience. 
Because of these commercials, the group developed a reputation for their sense of humor. They starred in several feature films. Their first starring role came in the movie Krush Groove (1985), followed by a second, Disorderlies (1987), which also featured Ralph Bellamy as a millionaire invalid cared for by his good-natured yet inept orderlies (played by the Fat Boys), with a cameo by manager Stettler.
Making Crushin' and Coming Back Hard Again
Hoping to repeat the success of Run-D.M.C. and Aerosmith with the single "Walk This Way" The Fat Boys made a cover version of the song "Wipeout" together with rock group The Beach Boys. The single peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 10 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The song "Wipeout" reached #2 on UK Top 100 in September 1987 during a 13-week chart run. "Wipeout" was the last song the group members recorded for the album Crushin', but it was she who helped the album received a Platinum status in the United States.
The music video begins with an announcement of a boxing match, The Fat Boys and The Beach Boys are attending the match. The match is interrupted by a fight. In the following scene, The Fat Boys load up a car with swimsuits and then drive off. The Beach Boys are driving in a dune buggy through the city. Both bands go around the city in the direction of a beach, while they perform the song and animate the inhabitants of the city to come to the beach. Meanwhile, at the beach one of The Fat Boys tries to lift a heavy weight and is laughed at by two women because of failure, another playing volleyball and another surfing. The Beach Boys on the other hand are DJing in the street. In the course of the video all celebrate a beach party.
The group was later approached to record the theme song for A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988), called "Are You Ready for Freddy", which featured Robert Englund performing as Freddy Krueger.
The next album called Coming Back Hard Again repeated the formula of the previous one. This time, The Fat Boys recorded a cover version of the song "The Twist" with Chubby Checker, who performed it originally in 1960. The single peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 40 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The song "The Twist (Yo, Twist)" reached number two on UK Top 100 in July 1988 during a 11-week chart run. Another song from the album, "Louie Louie", is a cover version of a 1957 song by American singer Richard Berry. The song peaked at number 46 on UK Top 100 on November 5, 1988 for 4 weeks.
However, the tastes of the listeners at that time have already changed. By taking part in the rash rap opera On And On, the group tried to regain its fame, but this only accelerated the breakup of the group. Prince Markie Dee left the group to pursue solo interests, which included producing many early tracks for Mariah Carey and Mary J. Blige which included her debut single, "Real Love". In 1991, the remaining two members, Kool Rock-Ski and Buff Love, carried on as a duo and released Mack Daddy (1991), but shortly thereafter, the group disbanded (until 2008). In the 1992 feature film Boomerang, Chris Rock's character laments the breakup of the Fat Boys. He was later quoted by Jay-Z in his 2001 song the "Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)".
The surviving members of the Fat Boys launched its first official homepage, OriginalFatBoys.com, on November 5, 2008. According to the website, the Fat Boys recorded its first track "Fat Boys Unite" in nearly two decades and have plans of doing a reality TV show in search of a new member.
In March 2009, Kool Rock-ski announced the launch of his official website, KoolRockSki.com. His first solo project, the EP Party Time, was released on April 14, 2009.
On October 18, 2010, the cable network TV One's aired Unsung: The Story of The Fat Boys. It mentioned that the two surviving members reunited and were touring with Doug E. Fresh who was providing the beatboxing. There has been no confirmation as to whether he is the new third permanent member. This was produced by the group's manager, Louis Gregory, publicly known as Uncle Louie.
|Title||Album details||Peak chart positions||Certifications|
Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)
|The Fat Boys Are Back||
|Big & Beautiful||
|Coming Back Hard Again||
|On and On||
|Year||Single||Peak chart positions||Album|
Billboard Hot 100
Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs
Hot Dance Club Songs
|1984||"Fat Boys"/"Human Beat Box"||—||65||—||Fat Boys|
|1985||"Can You Feel It"||101||38||—|
|"The Fat Boys Are Back"||—||27||—||The Fat Boys Are Back|
|"Hard Core Reggae"||—||52||—|
|"Don't Be Stupid"||—||62||—|
|1986||"Sex Machine"||—||23||—||Big & Beautiful|
|"In The House"||—||51||—|
|1987||"Falling In Love"||—||16||—||Crushin'|
|1988||"The Twist"||16||40||—||Coming Back Hard Again|
|"Are You Ready For Freddy?"||—||93||—|
|1989||"Lie-Z"||—||81||—||On And On|
|1985||Krush Groove||"Don't You Dog Me", "Pump It Up - Let's Get Funky",
"All You Can Eat", "Fat Boys", "Krush Groovin'"
|October 25, 1985|
|1986||Knights of the City||"Jailhouse Rap"||February 14, 1986|
|1987||Disorderlies||"Rock Rulin'", "Baby You're a Rich Man", "Wipe Out"||August 14, 1987|
|1988||Police Academy (TV series)||"They Wear The Blue" (the opening theme song)||September 10, 1988|
|1988||The Freddy Krueger Special (TV Movie)||"Are You Ready For Freddy?"||August 18, 1988|
|1988||A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master||"Are You Ready For Freddy?"||August 19, 1988|
|1989||She-Devil||"It's Getting Hot", "Party Up"||December 8, 1989|
|2000||Price of Glory||"Roving Gangster (Rollin')"||March 31, 2000|
|2006||Scarface: The World Is Yours (video game)||"Hardcore Reggae", "Human Beat Box"||October 10, 2006|
|2009||Everybody Hates Chris (TV Series),
episode "Everybody Hates Fake IDs"
|"All You Can Eat"||January 23, 2009|
|2012||Rude Tube (TV Series),
episode "Utter Fails"
|"Fat Boys Are Back"||September 10, 2012|
|2014||Ping Pong Summer||"Stick 'Em"||June 6, 2014|
|2014||Rap Critic Reviews (TV Series), episode
"Top 5 Worst Lyrics I've Ever Heard... This Month"
|"Wipeout", "Protect Yourself/My Nuts"||February 27, 2014|
|2017||One Hit Wonderland (TV Series documentary),
episode "Rock Me Amadeus" by Falco
|"Human Beat Box"||March 1, 2017|
- 1985 – Krush Groove (October 25, 1985)
- 1986 – Knights of the City (February 14, 1986)
- 1987 – Disorderlies (August 14, 1987)
- 2000 – Where Are They Now?: The 80s II (by VH-1) (September 28, 2000)
- 2002 – Breath Control: The History of the Human Beat Box (Tribeca Film Festival 2002) (May 9, 2002)
- 2004 – And You Don't Stop: 30 Years of Hip-Hop (October 4, 2004)
- 2010 – Unsung: The Story of The Fat Boys (by TV One) (October 18, 2010)
- 2010 – Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (DVD) (May 4, 2010)
- 1986 - Brrr, Watch 'Em! (MCA Home Video)
- 1988 - 3×3 (PolyGram Music Video)
|1984||TV commercial for Swatch wrist watches ("Brrr, Swatch 'Em!")||December 1984|
|1985||TV commercial for Swatch wrist watches ("Swatch Watch Presents A Merry Christmas")||December 1985|
|1985||Soul Train (TV Series) - episode "The Temptations/The Fat Boys"||January 5, 1985|
|1986||Miami Vice (телешоу), episode "Florence Italy"||February 14, 1986|
|1987||Ebony/Jet Showcase (TV Series)||September 11, 1987|
|1987||The New Hollywood Squares (TV Series)||November 16, 1987|
|1987||Square One (TV Series), episode #1.12, music video "Burger Pattern"||February 10, 1987|
|1988||Square One (TV Series), episode #2.1, music video "One Billion"||September 19, 1988|
|1988||T. and T. (TV Series), episode "The Silver Angel"||February 22, 1988|
|1988||Nelson Mandela 70th Birthday Tribute (TV Special documentary)||June 11, 1988|
|1988||MTV Video Music Awards (TV Series)||September 7, 1988|
|1988||Sacrée soirée (TV Series)||October 19, 1988|
|1988||Rockopop||November 5, 1988|
|1989||Police Academy (TV series) season 2, episode 29, "Survival of the Fattest" (voice)||January 14, 1989|
|1989||Square One (TV Series), episode #3.41, music video "Working Backwards"||December 23, 1990|
|1990||Ebony/Jet Showcase (TV Series)||March 16, 1990|
|2017||Detroiters (TV series) Season 1 Episode 9 "Husky Boys"||April 4, 2017|
|1984||"Jail House Rap"|
|1984||"Can You Feel It?"|
|1985||"Hard Core Reggae"|
|1985||"Don't You Dog Me"|
|1985||"All You Can Eat"|
|1986||"King Holiday" (King Dream Chorus and Holiday Crew)|
|1987||"Wipeout" (Fat Boys and The Beach Boys)|
|1988||"The Twist (Yo, Twist)" (Fat Boys & Chubby Checker)|
|1988||"Are You Ready For Freddy?"|
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