The Fat Boys Discuss Not Getting Their Props As Hip-Hop Heavyweights
The Fat Boys were some of Hip-Hop’s first stars. On wax and on screen, Prince Markie Dee, Buff Love, and Kool Rock-Ski translated as bigger than life personas. However, by the time 1987’s Crushin’ did just that on the charts, the newly-platinum trio seemed to “Wipeout” with some Hip-Hop purists.
In an interview with Rolling Stone‘s Will Hodge, Prince Markie Dee (aka Mark Morales) and Kool Rock-Ski (aka Damon Wimbley) looked back at their success, and how crossing over against their artistic wishes compromised their legacy. As they see it, The Fat Boys are under-sung pioneers, not the gluttonous gimmick they are sometimes remembered as.
The feature runs on the 30th anniversary of Crushin’ (August 14, 1987). That year, the Brooklyn, New York trio pivoted to Polydor Records, where they’d strike a Top 10 release, and their first platinum LP. That same year, Warner Bros. film studio released Disorderlies, a theatrical film with the Krush Groove standouts in the lead. It was reportedly part of a three-picture deal with the MCs formerly known as The Disco 3.
However, with that mainstream arrival came conflict. The group produced by early Hip-Hop star Kurtis Blow felt disjointed from their base. “I’ll be absolutely honest with you, Crushin’ was our worst album to do, even though it was our most successful,” Prince Markie Dee admits today. “We felt like it was the beginning of our downfall, specifically because of ‘Wipeout.'” One year earlier, Krush Groove cast-mates Run-D.M.C. struck major success reviving an Aerosmith hit through collaboration. The Fat Boys attempted to do the same with Surf Rock and The Beach Boys. “Wipeout” went to #10.
“Wipeout” was a managerial suggestion. The group appeared with the mid-’80s lineup of The Beach Boys in their film. They bonded with the ’60s stars in the studio too. However, Hawaiian shirts and beachwear painted Mark, Buff, and Kool Rock-Ski in a different light. On subsequent albums, more Oldies covers followed. The group who made “Fat Boys” and “Can You Feel It” appeared to be more darling than daring.
“As far as our peers are concerned, I think we get a lot of love and recognition,” admits Markie Dee. “As far as the media though, I think we totally get ignored. … I think people look at Run-D.M.C. and Whodini as Hip-Hop artists and they look at us as comedians.”
“It’s impossible not to mention us in the same breath as Run-D.M.C., but we’re not always getting the props we deserve,” Kool Rock-Ski tells the author. “I think some people slight us because of the name or they only go by the songs that mention food and not classics like ‘Can You Feel It?’ or songs like that.” Moments later, he asserts, “We opened doors for groups like Big Daddy Kane, Heavy D, and Doug E. Fresh who often said that they were able to pick up the shows that we had to turn down because we were doing so much at the time.”
The group released three more albums after Crushin’—each less successful than the previous. Prince Markie Dee would exit the group to produce others and work as a record exec. In late 1995, Buff Love died of a heart attack in Queens, New York.
Elsewhere in the Rolling Stone interview, Morales recalls his engagement to Salt-n-Pepa’s Pep. The group revisits getting an impromptu TV union with unsanctioned spinoff group The Fat Girls, and filming at the former Beverly Hillbillies sitcom mansion.