Finding The GOAT Album: Whodini’s Escape vs. The Fat Boys’ The Fat Boys. Which Is Better?
One year ago, Ambrosia For Heads launched a debate among its readers seeking to answer one of Hip-Hop’s most hotly-contested questions: who is the greatest MC of all time? “Finding The GOAT MC” lasted between September 2014 and May 2015, engaging millions of readers and ultimately producing its winner, as determined by hundreds of thousands of voters. Now, “Finding The GOAT” returns to ask a new question: what is the greatest of all time Hip-Hop album?
“Finding The GOAT Album” will consider 120 albums from three individual eras (40 in each), with options for wild card and write-in candidates. You and your vote will decide which album goes forward, and which one leaves the conversation. While there will no doubt be conversation between family and friends (virtual and real), only votes cast in the voting tool below will be counted, so use the power of your click.
In 1984, Hip-Hop music was more than flirting with Electro sounds. Two acts involving the mastery of musician/producer Larry Smith made major strides in the year. Whodini left an indelible mark on the genre through their definitive sophomore album, while The Fat Boys feasted on fly rhymes, beefy beat-boxing, and home-cooked harmonies. Travel back 31 years ago, and decide which Rap LP is best (click on one then click vote).
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Escape by Whodini
Brooklyn, Hip-Hop trio Whodini made an incredible sophomore album in October, 1984’s Escape. While the group’s self-titled debut eloquently combined Rap with Electro, the follow-up reached the true intersection of skill and pop. As Run-D.M.C. were loud with boisterous deliveries, “Friends” waxed a cautionary tale with a chilled groove, and a vocal smoothness. Jalil and Ecstasy were innovators in knowing when to let the beat breathe, to only enhance the drama to their raps. Another single, “Five Minutes Of Funk” did the same, using a countdown theme and a crescendo approach that translated to parties, car stereos, and boom-boxes. Larry Smith’s arrangements knocked in the highest, combining synths du jour with groundbreaking bass and percussion. Whodini’s sound would not only inform all of Hip-Hop in the mid-’80s, but veteran Funk/R&B groups like Cameo, the Pointer Sisters, and Zapp.
Hip-Hop was forever intended to be the booming voice of the young streets, and Whodini’s Escape obliged. “Freaks Come Out At Night” bottled the break-dance energy with a song that applied to stick-up kids, promiscuity, and Halloween tales at once. As Whodini packed two energetic, highly accessible MCs, DJ Grandmaster Dee only fuel-injected the group’s excitement. A revered turntablist, “Featuring Grandmaster Dee” said all that needed to be said, with Drew Carter’s hands. Only eight songs deep, this early Hip-Hop album never wavered, and refused to brake. Escape found one of Hip-Hop’s most influential groups in their finest stride. Whodini had the formula to reach kids, and elevate the culture, with music that fit any working DJ’s playlist, between Funk, R&B, and Rap 12″ singles. If an album’s greatness is about percentage of great songs on an album, Jalil, Ecstasy, and Grandmaster Dee’s sophomore flirts with perfection.
Album Number: 2
Released: October 17, 1984
Label: Jive/Arista Records
Highest Charting Position (Top 200): #35 (certified gold, January 1985; certified platinum May 1987)
Song Guests: Larry Smith
Song Producers: Larry Smith
The Fat Boys by The Fat Boys
Hip-Hop loves characters. From the pioneering days of the culture, MCs and DJs stood out by distinguishing themselves in sound, style, and visually. The Fat Boys took that approach, and super-sized it. Three plump New Yorkers, Prince Markie Dee, Buff Love, and Kool Rock-Ski actually needed no t-shirts to introduce themselves. However, the rapping and beat-boxing routines proved immediately that the Disco 3 (as they were first known) were absolutely no gimmick. The trio’s 1984 small-indie debut displayed a highly harmonic group in many facets. “The Human Beat Box” and “Fat Boys” remain as tight and influential as any skills exhibition in Hip-Hop’s first decade.
Only seven songs deep, The Fat Boys takes an album seemingly about nothing, and made it unforgettable. “Can You Feel It?” took Kurtis Blow’s proven formula, and made a song that felt like so much more than its lyrics alluded. As much as Doug E. Fresh and Rahzel, this may be the best long-player example of the beat-box craft. “Stick ‘Em” needed no beat, and employed stronger rhymes than the album iterations of the Get Fresh Crew. Years before Slick Rick, Flavor Flav, and Bushwick Bill, The Fat Boys made Hip-Hop visual, and brought further attention and interest to the music. By no means an all-u-can-eat affair, the ’84 jump-off remains a satiating appetizer.
Album Number: 1
Released: June, 1984
Label: Sutra/Tin Apple Records
Highest Charting Position (Top 200): #48 (certified gold, May 1985)
Song Guests: Kurtis Blow, Larry Smith, Don Blackman, Danny Harris, Francis Johnson, Tony McLaughlin, David Ogrin, Davod Reeves, Tashawn, Audrew Wheeler, Alyson Williams
Song Producers: Kurtis Blow, Art Klass, Charles Stettler
So what’s the better album? Make sure you vote above.