By: Todd Davis
Early eighties Hip-Hop pioneers, The Fat Boys, made up of Mark Morales, a.k.a. Prince Markie Dee, Kool Rock-Ski, nee’ Damon Wimbley, and the late, great Darren “The Human Beat Box” Robinson, are right on the verge of a much needed comeback, despite sadly losing one integral member of the group back in December 1995.
Although their return to form is somewhat bittersweet because of the untimely demise of Buffy, for their fans, and, I believe, the genre as a whole, it’s definitely cause for major celebration — The Fat Boys are (really) back!
” When Buff passed, it woke me up and I realized I had to get healthy. It is definitely easier to stay in shape than it was to get in shape.”
You dropped the Ski part from your moniker — How come?
Did (my manager) Uncle Louie put you up to that? Asking me that question, man? *Laughter* Actually, I dropped the “Ski” in 1988. You know, growing up, growing out of the Fat Boys’ image and all that *More laughter* I wanted to be Rock Man or Kool Rock, the Ski part just started to sound wack to me.
Recently you released your new 4-trak EP Party Time — Why did you opt to call it this?
Man, when people heard my new music, they was like, “This sound like you Rock! You have such a recognizable voice, but your flow, it’s hot, man, it changed with the time!” And, I was like, “Yes, Sirrrrr, it’s Party Time!”
On the set’s first single “We Can Talk” you teamed up with superstar rapper Jay-Z — How did this collabo come to fruition? And, what was it like working with Hova?
Man, you know, Jay is like the God right now when it comes to Hip-Hop — Leaps and bounds above the rest! And, what made me feel blessed was the fact that here is this dude, selling everything he touches, and he’s like, “Yo, I’m a Fat Boys’ fan!” I mean, he shouted us on a record and next thing you know, he’s on one of my joints! And, I am just praying people like that jam as much as I do. I’m most definitely a fan of Jay, and appreciate his support on this.
Elsewhere on the EP, T-Pain appears on “Stop Playing With Your-self” — What is this song really all about? And, tell me how you even got together with Pain in the first place for this track?
That’s funny, man — You know what it’s about! Check this out, if you could write a song that every stripper would tell their deejay to throw on when they hit the stage, it would be the recipe for success — Butt naked sexy success *Rock chuckles* T-Pain is a musical genius, and he comes off with some ideas that are just outside the box. “Stop Playing With Your-self, Get your hands out your pants!” You need an explanation of that, Fa real?
What are the other two joints like or about?
Stop playing, man, you didn’t cop the download? The tracks are tight, man! There is a party song, a “nod your head” joint, the strip club track, and a throwback — Something for everybody!
Why did this project take precedence over last year’s announcement of a new Fat Boys’ LP? Is one still coming soon?
The Fat Boys’ LP is definitely coming, man. It’s just not something that can be rushed. This didn’t take precedence, it just came together easier, faster and natural. My manager Uncle Louie said, “Rock, make a solo album!” In like two weeks, he said, “Yo, Rock, you done yet?” It just came together easier. Usually when good things happen, they happen like that. When I was making the Fat Boys’ records, I never needed an alarm clock!
After all this time and, of course, the unfortunate loss of Buff Love, what prompted you all to want to come back with another record?
Priorities change as we all grow up, and what was important to us when we was kids is different from what we know is important now, you know? We can make sound decisions. And, let’s face it, we helped forge the way for Hip-Hop so it’s only natural we stick around. We have a vested interest in the outcome. It’s funny how Rock ‘N’ Roll reveres their “old school,” but Hip-Hop kind of just moves on. Things change though. Our music is young in comparison to other genres. We will learn, and get on the right course.
Taking it way back, how did you all first come together to form The Fat Boys?
Me, Mark and Buff grew up on the same block in Brooklyn. Actually, the Fat Boys started with four of us, then it was three, and you know how the story goes…We won a rap contest, and then we got hooked up with Charlie [Stettler], and got a record deal. We were kids, man, like 15 years old — We just loved to cipher!
So then, the whole storyline from Krush Groove is pretty much how it really all went down?
Well, if you saw our movie Krush Groove, it was pretty much in line with how things really went down. We signed up for this rap contest because we wanted to win a boom-box, and we actually won the whole thing and got a record deal with Tin Pan Apple. The rest was history.
Back in the early days rap music wasn’t really big yet, so what types of artists influenced you all?
Man, I loved all the rap grooves back in the day, but I also really liked Lionel Richie, Stevie Wonder, DeBarge, and those R&B joints.
Did you even think the whole “rapping” thing would last? When did you actually decide it could be a career choice?
About a year ago! *More chuckles* When I was a kid, I never really thought about what I was doing until it was too late.
You all were/are very diverse, so how did you guys come up with the concepts for Fat Boys’ records?
First, I gotta hear the track and vibe to what I am listening to. Then, I like to have a concept. Once I have a concept and a track I can vibe to, its paper to pen time, and then I, “Brrrrr Stick ’em, Ha Ha Ha Stick ’em!” *Falls out laughing*
How have you all managed to withstand the true test of time?
Being able to recognize what made me a success and not fighting the system. Those things are part of success in any business.
One thing positive that happened in the wake of Buffy’s passing is that you started to become very health conscious and fitness driven…
That’s true, man. When Buff passed, it woke me up and I realized I had to get healthy. It is definitely easier to stay in shape than it was to get in shape.
With that being said, would you ever do any personal training to help others in need? Or, even promote that particular lifestyle via books and/or DVD releases?
Now that I am a slim and trim 175 pounds, I would like to do something with fitness. I would love to do some self-help books or DVD’s on fitness. I (recently) did a fitness video with Lil’ Cease. But, really, I would love to act again.
Yeah, you have done your fair share of acting; First in Krush Groove, and later in the cult-like hit Disorderlies — Why did you give that up anyway? And, are there any plans to return to the silver screen?
Wow, I would love to return to the movies. I would settle for TV! I am just waiting for the right opportunity to come along. But, I am open to doing new things.
How have you seen Hip-Hop change and/or evolve since you all first got started in it?
I think Hip-Hop is cyclical. I am definitely happy with it! I love the music Flo Rida, Pitbull and Sean Kingston are making right now. There are so many great artists making fun music — I like fun music, man.
What about all of the file sharing, bootlegging and illegal downloading that is making it nearly impossible on both artists and labels alike — What are your feelings on this dire situation?
There has always been bootlegging. It’s more of the same. It’s, like, you can’t get away from it, but I have seen it getting better. These people (that are) stealing from the artists has to stop! The record companies, too. They need to do their share, (and) go after these websites that allow it to happen. They have to protect the music.
What do you think people would be most surprised to know about Kool Rock?
Well, I don’t eat pizza anymore. I could talk Hip-Hop history all day, and I love God. I also love Twitter! I have been on there talking direct with my fans @TheFatBoys, and it’s amazing after 20 years to be so blessed.
Biggest career moment has been…
; Opening for Stevie Wonder in front of 100,000 plus in England.
Wow, must’ve been incredible! So, what does your future hold?
(I see myself) in Miami (Beach), eating a corned beef on Collins Avenue with Prince Markie Dee and Uncle Louie, (and) laughing about life.
As for the immediate, what’s next for you, Rock Man?
Man, you know Ron Hightower is getting ready to do (a) video (for) “We Can Talk” now. Stay tuned and check my website KoolRockSki.com. As for the Fat Boys, log onto OriginalFatBoys.com and keep up with the new stuff and the old stuff.
Is there anything I left out that you’d like to report on?
Well, definitely, I need my fans to go and download the new music from iTunes. It’s under Kool Rock-ski, and it’s called Party Time. I have been getting so many messages from fans who want the old stuff. If you want to book the Fat Boys, or if you want to book me to perform my new joints, email my manager from UncleL.com.
Thanks, brutha, for your time! And, welcome back, the industry desperately needs y’all still!
Thanks for sitting down with me again, Todd. Thanks for (the) support (of) old school and thanks for supporting Hip-Hop and old school.