Remember those good ‘ole days of hip-hop? You know, that gGolden era” of rap? We’re obviously talking about the 80s and early 90s — Adidas track suits and shell toes. Gazelle shades. Kangol hats. Fat dookie ropes. Well, much of that is now considered a major fashion faux pas, although some “hipster rappers” seem to be slowly, but surely incorporating many of them same fads back into the culture. One thing that remains for certain is that the music itself will never go out of style. It can only be defined by one word: timeless.
Well, one of those legendary acts, The Fat Boys, are right on the verge of a much needed comeback, despite sadly losing one integral part of the group — Darren “The Human Beat Box” Robinson — in December 1995. Although for the two surviving members, Mark “Prince Markie Dee” Morales and Damon “Kool Rock-Ski” Wimbley, their return is somewhat bittersweet because of the untimely demise of Buffy. For their fans, critics, and the genre as a whole, it’s definitely cause for a huge celebration — The Fat Boys are really back.
BallerStatus.com: It’s real good to see you all again. It’s been over 20 long years, so what’s really been up with The Fat Boys?
Markie Dee: Thanks, man. Yeah, 20 years. Wow. It’s mean a minute. (laughs) We been in the mix, just not in the spotlight for a little while. I did my solo thing, the production thing, and I got my radio show in Miami. So, I’m grinding. I feel blessed after 20 years to still be doing my thing. 20 years, huh? Hip-hop needs a pension, yo. (laughs)
Kool Rock: Wow, Mark, he’s right, 20 years. You know, I been hitting the gym hard, and getting in shape, concentrating on my health, so I can do this for another 20. Music is something that’s in my soul. Time is irrelevant to me, music is me.
BallerStatus.com: Now that you all are “officially” back in the mix, how do you think you will actually be received, considering you’ve been away for so long?
Kool Rock: We just need to get back out there. When people visit our website FatBoys.tv or OriginalFatBoys.com, and reminisce about back in the day, it’s on.
Markie Dee: Yeah, there’s so much that’s untapped — Fat Boys’ ringtones? I mean, we didn’t even have cell phones back in the day. We went platinum without ringtones, downloads. We didn’t even have CDs.
BallerStatus.com: Mark, you actually left first to pursue a short lived solo career, and later joined forces with Cory Rooney to form the supersuccessful production duo, Soul Convention (Mary J Blige, J-Lo). Why did you opt to leave the group?
Markie Dee: Sometimes it’s just time to do something new, something different, or in this case, something old that just seemed to work — right place at the right time. I go with my heart, I do what makes sense.
(The Fat Boys’ long-time friend and manager, Uncle Louie, chimes in.)
Uncle Louie: If it doesn’t make dollars, then it doesn’t make sense. Markie was smart to bounce when he did. Overexposure isn’t good. People have to want to hear you. After 20 years, people want to hear the Fat Boys again. So, Markie is right, it is the right time.
BallerStatus.com: Kool Rock, you and Buff later returned with Mack Daddy in 1991, but sadly Darren “The Human Beat Box” Robinson passed away, unexpectedly in ’95. Was this the main reason why you left the music industry altogether?
Kool Rock: Yeah, the Mack Daddy album, I’d rather forget that one. But, like Uncle Louie told me last week … I was like, “That record hurt our legacy.” And, he said it had no impact, he called it a “none entity.” I hope he’s right. We recorded that in Buff’s house.
BallerStatus.com: You all are finally about to drop a new Fat Boys LP. After all this time, and the unfortunate demise of Buff Love, what prompted you all to come back with another record?
Markie Dee: Wow, I guess the truth is that it was Uncle Louie who convinced us it was time. We’ve known him forever, and he was always like an advisor to us — the Fat Boys’ Yoda. (laughs)
Kool Rock: Yeah, Louie advised us. But, one day he said, “Enough is enough with this, guys. You boys have what it takes, but you have to accept that you are the Fat Boys, embrace it.” So, we weighed the options (laughs) and signed with him.
BallerStatus.com: Is this project coming out on King Music Group, where Prince Markie Dee serves as the label president?
Markie Dee: Nah, man. We want to do this, so we get paid this time around. Not a record label.
BallerStatus.com: Aside from, of course, the absence of “The Human Beat Box,” sonically how do you all feel that this new project compares to previous Fat Boys’ releases?
Kool Rock: Sonically? Sonic … now you got me thinking about burgers. (laughs)
Markie Dee: Stop playing, Rock. Yo, kid, burgers? I need that right now. (laughs) Man, our sound is what it has always been, the Fat Boys. Buff is alive in our souls, he’ll always be there.
BallerStatus.com: Take me back to the origins of Disco 3. Initially, how did the group even get put on?
Kool Rock: You never seen the movie Krush Groove? We won a record deal in a rap contest. Charlie [Stettler], our old manager, signed us and it happened.
Markie Dee: We were like 15. We just liked to rap.
Kool Rock: Yo, seriously, I need some food before I answer any more questions.
BallerStatus.com: Back then, who were you all fans of?
Markie Dee: I love Stevie Wonder, DeBarge and, you know, the classics.
Kool Rock: I told you … No food, no questions.
Markie Dee: Stop playing, man.
BallerStatus.com: So, what made you all really want to start studying your craft more seriously?
Kool Rock: I guess when we got that deal with Tin Pan Apple and were like, “Yo, we getting paid to rap?”
Markie Dee: For real. When we cashed our first check, we became pros.
BallerStatus.com: Are you all content with where hip-hop is at, going into the year 2009?
Markie Dee: Happy? I wouldn’t call it happy. But, yeah, I like where it’s gone and where it’s headed. There are some real good artists out there. Jay-Z is great for the industry. I’d love for him to reach out to us.
Kool Rock: I mean there are still dudes out there having fun and that’s what matters. They gotta enjoy themselves. Jay-Z — yeah, man, I’d love to work with him. That would be huge — a Fat Boys record with Jay-Z.
BallerStatus.com: With that being said, what are your thoughts on all of this illegal bootlegging of the music? Unfortunately, artists don’t have much of a chance these days with record sales, considering a lot of people are basically stealing their music.
Kool Rock: Bootlegging isn’t new. No, they didn’t do it digitally in our day, but they did it on cassettes.
Markie Dee: It’s a cost of doing business. We don’t like it, but it can’t be the determining factor of our careers.
BallerStatus.com: Yeah, I guess that’s true. So, what do you all feel the biggest difference is between the Fat Boys circa 1984, versus the ’08 and beyond version of the group?
Kool Rock: Just know that we are more than just some fat dudes wearing tight clothes in the 80s. We are artists, we love music, we love to perform, and we love the industry we helped create.
Markie Dee: That’s true, man. Just know we ain’t 16 anymore. We’re back, and, yeah, we the Fat Boys, but we men now.
BallerStatus.com: You all are pretty well known actors as well. 1987’s “Disorderlies” is still a huge cult classic. Is acting still in your blood?
Kool Rock: I just want to get back in the swing of things. I want to do some more acting.
Markie Dee: Yeah, you acting right now … Acting like a dummy. (laughs)
BallerStatus.com: Aside from, of course, this new album, what are some other things that occupy your time?
Markie Dee: I’m a family man, you know? Friends, family, and just chilling.
Kool Rock: I hit the gym a lot. I know, Fat Boy at the gym? Family and friends are big to me, too, man. I also love to read. I’m studying hard, and I really wanna get back on screen. I wanna act. I really enjoyed “Disorderlies” so much. I miss that.
BallerStatus.com: What do you all consider to be your greatest career highlights?
Markie Dee: We did so many big things. The Super Bowl, Disney World, world tours … But, I really had a blast working on the video for “Are you Ready For Freddy?” Freddy Krueger, that’s my dude.
Kool Rock: Working with Chris Rock was great. I enjoyed doing the MTV Music Awards project. Get at me Chris. I lost your numbers, man. I guess all in all, making movies was big to me. Like I said, acting.
BallerStatus.com: What’s next for The Fat Boys?
Markie Dee: Right now, we are shopping for deals. Our manager, Uncle Louie, has been taking meetings with labels, distribution companies, and networks. We are waiting for the best deal for us.
Kool Rock: Let’s face it, we ain’t getting any younger. We influenced this game a lot, and this may be our last chance to get some money and be comfortable. We gotta do it right.
BallerStatus.com: What’s up with Soul Convention? Do you and Cory work together still in any capacity?
Markie Dee: The Soul Convention was a big part of my career. It was my transition from artist to producer.
BallerStatus.com: Do you all have any parting words?
Markie Dee: Word? Parting words? (laughs) We ain’t dying, man. We making a comeback record. I mean, we would love to hear from the big names that make hip-hop what it is today … reach out.
Kool Rock: The website is up and running. We hope the fans email us and blog. Uncle Louie says we gotta blog.
Markie Dee: What’s a blog? We can eat that? (laughs)