Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fat Boys ~ Coming Back Hard Again

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: rap, hard rock, hip-hop
Label: Polygram Records
Year: 1988
Home: Brooklyn, New York

Members: Prince Markie Dee, Kool Rock-Ski ~ vocals
Buff Love, aka The Human Beat Box ~ beatboxing

Additional: Peter Campbell, Darren Robinson ~ programming
The NYC Kid ~ sax
Bobby Reich, Paul Pesco ~ guitar
Mac Quayle ~ keyboards
Teri Bieker, Craig Derry, Brian Drago, Cindy Mizelle, Normal Jean Wright ~ b. vocals

Guest: Chubby Checker ~ vocals

This is one of those little albums ... for a 'big' band ... lost in the shuffle, but should be held up as an example of bridging musical genres alongside Anthrax's funk metal & Run-DMC/Aerosmith's "Walk This Way". The Fat Boys might be one of the early rap bands that helped to put Brooklyn on the map but this is an album rock fans will unexpectantly enjoy. I bought it when it was fairly new & Young M.C., M.C. Hammer, L.L. Cool J., Vanilla Ice & the Beastie Boys were on the charts & I was interested in this new danceable urban music style with its fun 'singin'. The Fat Boys looked safe & entertaining & I was suckered into the rockin' title. Though, it's only now that I see the phallic reference in it, which some of the songs ("Back & Forth", "All Day Lover") hinted at & made me nervous ... I would turn down the volume on my boombox for those so mom wouldn't hear. But, safe is an understatement. This is an all out rock/rap/beat-box assault of memorable rap songs, though safe compared to the rap standards set by gangsta rap & Eminem, with rock guitars flowing under them. It's much in the style of Eminem "Cleaning Out My Closet", though with tongue firmly in cheek or perhaps even The Prodigy. The album opens with one of the most unexpected songs any rap band, or any band, might cover - "The Twist", with the originator himself Chubby Checker singing the chorus. It's the "Walk This Way" template all over again & with the Fat Boys rap verses it almost eclipses the original. "Louie Louie" follows the same successful treatment with keyboards, a gritty sung chorus, a breakdown & two guitar solos. On their previous release Crushin' the Fat Boys did "Wipe Out" setting the stage for these latest rock arrangements. The approach could feel tedious but the choice in classic rock songs keeps it fresh. A couple songs songs feature wild 80's power metal guitars & heavy riffing, against rap-esque drum beats, of course (i.e. "Coming Back Hard Again", "Louie Louie"), while there's also more than enough traditional rapping over beats & DJ scratching for the rap fans (i.e. "Pig Feet", "Rock The House Y'All", "We Can Do This", "Back & Forth", "Jellyroll", "Big Daddy"). A few songs (i.e. "All Day Lover") slow things down for ballads that have more in common with L.L. Cool J. or Mary J. Blige than the hardcore rap of the Fat Boys. If nothing else they show the diversity of the band's styles. One of the oddest songs, which makes this sound like a greatest hits compilation next to the rock songs, is "Are You Ready For Freddy" that features guest narration by knife-handed Freddy Krueger (actor Robert Englund) & was the theme for his 1988 movie A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master. It's an odd almost Alice Cooper like moment full of eerie electronic effects, a female oohing choir & a beat-box breakdown. A highlight of the album is Buff Love, aka the Human Beat Box who pioneered the mouth percussion known as beatboxing that became an artform (for example, "Are You Ready For Freddy", "Powerlord", "The Twist"). In 1995 Love died of a heart attack at age 28 weighing 450 pounds. The Fat Boys had broken up a few years earlier after becoming a duo with the departure of Prince Markie Dee. The remaining members lost a lot of weight & reunited in 2008 to record new music, going out on tour in 2010 with Doug E. Fresh. If you want to relive a primal era in rap music, when it was more about the street & not the glamor, let alone some outstanding music that covets an array of moods The Fat Boys are a good place to start the nostalgia trip.


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