Just me. (lara7) wrote,
Just me.
lara7

thrift store finds and alternate history

I'm listening to a recent thrift store purchase, the Fat Boys 1987 LP "Crushin'" .

Its amazing how stylistically similar it is to the Beastie Boys "Licensed to ill" LP (released late 1986). Besides the obvious connection of both being old school hip-hop, both were trios from Brooklyn, both had a novelty angle (fat rappers, white rappers), and there was a Markie D in the Fat Boys and a Mike D in the Beasties.

They were both commercially successful records: Licensed to Ill made it to #1 on the Billboard Pop chart and #2 on the Hip Hop/R&B Albums chart. "Crushin'" reached #8 on Billboard’s Pop chart and #4 on the Hip-Hop/R&B. Yet I'll bet no one reading this owns the Fat Boys LP, and at least 10 of you probably own "Licensed to ill". All of the Fat Boys CDs, even the mid-90's Rhino Best of, are out of print, though shockingly, their lame movie "Disorderlies" was released on DVD and is in print today.

Listen to both and it's hard to judge which is the "better" record. "Wipeout" is at least as catchy and anthemic as "You gotta fight for your right to party", AND it guest stars the Beach Boys. "Hell No" and "No Sleep til Brooklyn" have a similar repeated guitar riff. And the juvenilia of "My Nuts" is really no stupider than "Girls".

Why did the Beasties last, and the Fat Boys vanish into obscurity? Is it because the Beasties evolved into a band that also played instruments, and the Fat Boys did not? Was there no love for old skool lighthearted beatboxing when Gangsta happened? Would the Fat Boys be urging us to Free Tibet today had they been invited on Madonna's "Like a Virgin" tour instead of making "Disorderlies"? I eagerly await Harry Turtledove's attempt to tackle a plot in which this alternate history has occurred.

Wipeout, indeed.
Tags: big ideas, kids today
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