The Fat Boys

The Fat Boys Are Back

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One of the things that people in the music world have come to fear is the infamous sophomore slump. But there were no signs of a sophomore slump on the Fat Boys' second album, The Fat Boys Are Back. The Brooklyn trio showed a great deal of promise on its self-titled debut album of 1984, and this LP is also excellent. Because the Fat Boys acted like buffoons, some people dismissed them as a mere novelty act. But for all their clowning, the Fat Boys had impeccable rapping technique -- the skills that they bring to "Yes, Yes Y'all," the title song, and other wildly infectious offerings are first rate. Much to their credit, this album is fairly unpredictable; The Fat Boys Are Back finds them rapping to everything from sleek urban contemporary ("Pump It Up") to hard rock ("Rock-N-Roll") and reggae ("Hard Core Reggae"). The latter, in fact, is one of the most impressive examples of hip-hop/reggae fusion to come from rap's second generation. But the Fat Boys don't need real instruments to bust a rhyme; on the a cappella "Human Beat Box, Part II," their only "instrument" is the voice of the late Darren Robinson, aka the Human Beat Box, who used his voice to simulate instruments. Arguably, Robinson and Doug E. Fresh were the closest thing that 1980s hip-hop had to Bobby McFerrin. As time passed, the Fat Boys started sounding like a caricature of themselves. But when The Fat Boys Are Back came out in 1985, they were still among the most exciting groups in hip-hop.

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