Our top 10 songs from The Fat Boys present ten of the best songs released by a Brooklyn-spawned hip-hop trio whose breakthrough came around the early-‘80s. The trio started out in 1983 as The Disco 3, rising to fame after winning a local rap contest with a song entitled “Stick’ Em.” Later that year, the trio released its first single, “Reality.” However, the trio’s definitive moment in the hip-hop scene came up under the tutelage of the rap legend Kurtis Blow.
The Fat Boys’ association with the record executive Russell Simmons also helped put their impressive talent in the limelight. However, The Fat Boys made a name for themselves too, thanks to their self-deprecatory humor and remarkable rhymes! Alongside Kurtis Blow, Whodini, and Run-DMC, The Fat Boys played a pivotal role in taking the hip-hop/rap scene to the mainstream. The trio saw four of its albums receive certification by RIAA, with two of its singles making it to the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The Fat Boys’ Career Beginnings and Breakthrough
After winning a local contest as The Disco 3, the trio went on to release its debut single, “Reality.” Charles Stettler went on to manage the trio, guiding it to a European bus tour. The trio would later change its moniker from The Disco 3 to The Fat Boys. A fateful meet-up with producer and rapper Kurtis Blow, through the guidance of its then-manager Stettler, saw the trio edge closer to stardom. Kurtis Blow assisted The Fat Boys in finding their signature sound while working on their debut eponymous album.
In May 1984, The Fat Boys went on to release Fat Boys through Sutra Records. Sutra Records has once been home to other notable artists, including The Shangri-Las, The Fifth Dimension, Flamin’ Groovies, and the Canadian gospel/soft rock band Ocean. Fat Boys went on to peak at number six on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The album also managed to rise to position forty-eight on the Billboard 200.
Fat Boys was a commercial success, having received a Gold certification by RIAA. Some of the best The Fat Boys songs from the album include “Jail House Rap,” “Fat Boys,” and “Can You Feel It?” Songs from Fat Boys have been described by critics to be riotously entertaining hip-hop classics. The Fat Boys went on to be featured on the first edition of the Fresh Fest Tour in late 1984 alongside Kurtis Blow, Run-DMC, The Dynamic Breakers, Newcleus, and Whodini.
The Fat Boys’ Album Releases over the Years
By the end of 1984, The Fat Boys had already proved to be more than a fleeting success by rising above the status of mere local contest winners to a Gold-certified rap trio. The following year, the trio went on to release its sophomore studio album, The Fat Boys Are Back. Once again, The Fat Boys saw the album critically acclaimed by the growing audience of the hip-hop scene.
As a result, The Fat Boys Are Back was Gold-certified in early 1986. “The Fat Boys Are Back,” “Hard Core Reggae,” and “Don’t Be Stupid” are the most popular songs by The Fat Boys from the album. The Fat Boys went on to peak at number eleven on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. On the Billboard 200, The Fat Boys Are Back managed to rise to position sixty-three. The Fat Boys Are Back marked the last album by the trio, produced by Kurtis Blow.
Big & Beautiful, issued in May 1986, was the trio’s third studio album. The album also marked The Fat Boys’ final album issued through Sutra Records. Big & Beautiful reached position ten on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, rising to number sixty-two and Billboard 200. “In the House,” “Sex Machine,” and “Beat Box is Rockin’” are some of the most notable hits by The Fat Boys from the album. Unfortunately, sales for Big & Beautiful failed to match those of the previous albums.
In 1987, The Fat Boys rekindled their way to commercial success with their fourth studio album, Crushin’. Crushin’ was the trio’s most successful album, receiving a Platinum certification. The album rose to number four on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Crushin’ is also the trio’s highest charting album on the Billboard 200, peaking at number eight. The album also made it to the UK Albums Chart, peaking at number forty-nine.
“Wipe Out,” a collaborative cover hit with the American rock band The Beach Boys, was the most outstanding release by The Fat Boys from the album. The song was issued in an attempt to replicate the success seen with the release of the cover of “Walk This Way” by Run-DMX featuring the rock band, Aerosmith. Other popular songs by The Fat Boys from the album Crushin’ include “Boys Will Be Boys” and “Falling in Love.”
The Fat Boys returned in 1988 with their fifth studio album, Coming Back Hard Again. Coming Back Hard Again was a fair hip-hop follow-up to the trio’s Platinum-certified LP, Crushin’. The album was Gold-certified, rising to number thirty-three on the Billboard 200. Coming Back Hard Again went on to peak at number ninety-eight on the UK Albums Chart. “Are You Ready for Freddy,” “Louie, Louie,” and a cover of “The Twist” are some of the best The Fat Boys songs from Coming Back Hard Again.
Unfortunately, The Fat Boys failed to make a major impact with its last two albums. This was mainly fueled by the trio’s shift to a soft/pop-influenced sound. On and On, issued in 1989, was The Fat Boys’ sixth studio album. While the album had less impact on the hip-hop scene, it still managed to rise to number one hundred and seventy-five on the Billboard 200.
“Lie-Z” and “Just Loungin’” are the most popular songs by The Fat Boys from the 1989 album, On and On. Mack Daddy, The Fat Boys’ last album, was issued in October 1991, without Prince Markie Dee. The Fat Boys disbanded shortly after the release of Mack Daddy. The death of Buff Love in 1995 minimized the odds of the band ever making an impactful run in the hip-hop scene. Prince Markie Dee and Kool Rock-Ski came back together in 2008, but the reunion failed to rekindle The Fat Boys’ success in the hip-hop scene. The Fat Boys has since the death of Prince Markie Dee in 2021 collapsed, with Kool being the only remaining member.
The Fat Boys’ Other Musical Pursuits
The Fat Boys released songs for soundtracks to several movies, including Krush Groove, Knights of the City, and Disorderlies. The trio also starred in the aforementioned three movies. After exiting The Fat Boys in 1990, Prince Markie Dee launched his solo career, issuing his debut album, Free, in 1992 through Columbia Records. The album featured notable hits, including “Trippin Out,” Something Special,” and “Typical Reasons (Swing My Way).”
Free made it to the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, peaking at number forty-seven. Prince Markie Dee went on to release his sophomore and last solo studio album Love Daddy in 1995 through Motown Records. Unfortunately, Kool Rock-Ski’s attempt to seek glory as a solo artist in 2009 with his EP Party Time didn’t yield great success.
The Fat Boys’ Legacy
The Fat Boys were among the artists that facilitated the mainstream success of the underground hip-hop scene. Other impactful artists/groups of the ‘80s include Run-DMC, Kurtis Blow, Whodini, and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Amongst the trio’s seven albums, three were Gold-certified and one Platinum-certified by RIAA, making The Fat Boys one of the most commercially successful rap legends of the ‘80s. Darren Robinson, aka Buff Love/Human Beat Box, was famous for his beatboxing technique. The Fat Boys’ prints in the hip-hop scene still echo to date, with several artists sampling their hits. Here we present the ten best songs by The Fat Boys.
#10 – In the House
Ushering us to the top 10 The Fat Boys songs list is the phenomenal hit “In the House.” The song is featured on the trio’s third studio album, Big & Beautiful. “In the House” was penned by Mark Morales and Gordon Pickett. This pure classic rap hit stands out from most of the releases on Big & Beautiful, thanks to its enthralling beat. and its samples of the Yes song “Owner of a Lonely Heart.”
# 9 – Fat Boys
“Fat Boys” is one of the earliest releases by The Fat Boys. The song is featured on the trio’s debut album of the same name. “Fat Boys” had been initially released as a single on vinyl and cassette. Its infectious hip-hop beat helped catapult the song’s status as one of the trio’s most sought-after releases. “Fat Boys” went on to peak at number sixty-five on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop chart. The song was also among The Fat Boys’ first hits to have an accompanying music video. “Fat Boys” has been sampled in multiple hits, including “My Old Label” by Phat Kat, “Phat (‘N’ All Dat)” by Onyx, and “Da Two” by Pete Rock featuring C.L. Smooth.
# 8 – Louie, Louie
Coming in at number eight is the uproarious hit “Louie, Louie.” The song is among the best The Fat Boys songs from the trio’s fifth studio album, Coming Back Hard Again. “Louie, Louie” is a cover of the 1963 rock ‘n’ roll hit of the same name by the garage rock band, The Kingsmen.
Other artists who have covered/sampled The Kingsmen hit “Louie Louie” include Motörhead, Toots & the Maytals, The Kinks, Otis Redding, and Iggy Pop. “Louie, Louie” went on to peak at number eighty-nine on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was a success in the UK also, where it peaked at number forty-six on the UK Singles Chart.
# 7 – Falling in Love
“Falling in Love” is one of the best songs by The Fat Boys from the trio’s Platinum-certified album, Crushin’. The song brings a fresh new feel to the hip-hop scene, thanks to its theme of love. The Fat Boys brings out the true value of love in this song, citing the commitments and risks involved in this beautiful but demanding ordeal. “Falling in Love” features impressive beatboxing by Darren Robinson, aka Buff Love. Together with Doug E. Fresh, Buff Love is referred to as one of the pioneering beatboxers. The song went on to peak at number sixteen on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles.
# 6 – Are You Ready for Freddy
Number six on our top 10 songs from The Fat Boys is the marvelous hit “Are You Ready for Freddy.” The song is among the musical gems featured on the trio’s album, Coming Back Hard Again. “Are You Ready for Freddy” was issued as the theme to the fantasy/horror movie, A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master.
The song features the guest vocals of Robert Englund as Freddy Krueger. With “Are You Ready for Freddy,” The Fat Boys explores the horrorcore sound while still maintaining rap influences. “The song was a success, peaking at number ninety-three on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. “Are You Ready for Freddy” also managed to chart on the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number eighty-three.
# 5 – The Fat Boys Are Back
The Fat Boys Are Back was the trio’s sophomore studio album and home to our fifth pick, “The Fat Boys Are Back.” And truly, The Fat Boys were back with this banger which proved too luscious for the trio’s fans. “The Fat Boys Are Back” brought to light the individual brilliance of beatbox master Buff Love.
The song features the background vocals of Michelle Cobbs, Fonda Rae, and Alyson Williams. Both Fonda Rae and Alyson Williams were notable figures in the R&B scene. “The Fat Boys Are Back” was a success on the charts, peaking at twenty-seven on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The song was sampled in the 1998 hit “White Boy Is Back” by Everlast.
# 4 – Can You Feel It?
“Can You Feel It?” is among the earliest releases by The Fat Boys, whose impact has barely faded. The song is featured on the trio’s debut eponymous album. “Can You Feel It?” rose to number thirty-eight on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The song missed the Billboard Hot 100 by a single spot. Its impact in the hip-hop scene saw the song sampled in “Can You Feel Me” by Dru Down, “Can You Feel It” by Warren G, and “A Touch of Soul” by Freedom of Soul.
# 3 – The Twist ft. Chubby Checker
The third hit on our top 10 songs by The Fat Boys is the cover of the oldie “The Twist.” Initially, the song was released in 1958 by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters. Hank Ballard’s original version was a hit, to say the least, peaking at number six on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960. However, a cover by Chubby Checker of this song surpassed the performance of the original version, topping the Billboard charts.
Chubby Checker later teamed up with The Fat Boys in 1988 for the release of a cover of the same song. The rap version of this rock ‘n’ roll oldie was a success, rising to number sixteen on the Billboard Hot 100. It also topped the Singles Charts in Germany and Switzerland, peaking at number two on the UK Singles Chart. The Fat Boys featured this cover hit on the album, Coming Back Hard Again.
# 2 – Jail House Rap
“Jail House Rap” is one of the fan-favorite top hits by The Fat Boys. The song is featured on the trio’s debut eponymous studio album. “Jail House Rap” was the first hit by The Fat Boys to rise to the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number sixty-three. The song missed entering the Billboard Hot 100 by five spots.
However, it peaked at number seventeen on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The song was sampled in “Plead Guilty” by Luniz, “Belly Dancin’ Dina” by Jungle Brothers, and “If You” by Lords of the Underground.
# 1 – Wipe Out ft. The Beach Boys
Number one on our top 10 The Fat Boys songs is the outstanding hit “Wipe Out.” The song is the most popular hit by The Fat Boys from the trio’s Platinum-certified album, Crushin’. “Wipe Out” is a rock ‘n’ roll oldie issued by The Surfaris in 1963. The Fat Boys moved on to attempt a cover with a rock band following the success of the cover hit “Walk This Way” by the hip-hop group Run-DMC featuring Aerosmith.
“Wipe Out,” a collaborative cover hit with The Beach Boys, went on to become the trio’s signature hit, peaking at number two on the UK Singles Chart. The song was the trio’s highest charting single, peaking at number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100. Other artists who have covered the original version of “Wipe Out” include The Ventures, The Residents, Incredible Bongo Band, Sandy Nelson, and Herbie Hancock featuring Dweezil Zappa and Terry Bozzio.
Top 10 Songs By The Fat Boys article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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