The Human Beat Box by The Fat Boys might be the first rap song that I ever heard. There was this kid named Mike who lived up the way from me and he had a cousin who lived back East. Cousin Whoever was a bit older than us and was totally into hip hop.
Kid was a breaker as I recall but who knows if that’s true. If I sent tapes to a cousin who I hadn’t seen in years and might not see again for years I might tell him that I was nice at break dancing. It’d sound better than telling him that I’d gotten a bit chubby and was into wrestling magazines and Gi Joe figures.
Anyway, dude used to send Mike mix tapes in the mail every once and again and every once and a while Mike’d bust out a Cousin tape when we were playing Uno or whatever..
When I first heard Human Beat Box it was like the funniest and most stupid song I’d ever heard. I totally loved it. It was so weird. Just bananas. I’d never heard of or even imagined Beatboxing. I was barely even aware of rap really. I’d heard of it and kind of had an idea of what went on in rap but Human Beat Boxing was beyond my ability to comprehend. I was gobsmacked.
It was wild too because Cousin Whoever didn’t include a track listing or anything to give an indication as to what we were listening to. We figured out that the dudes were called The D-3 MCs (before taking on the more obvious name: The Fat Boys the group was known as The Disco Three. A cooler name for sure but also less likely to cross over like The Fat Boy name did.) and that kid making the noise was called The Human Beat Box.
Really though having heard only this song it seemed like The Beat Box was the star and that the other two dudes are just backing him up. It was all very mysterious.
The Fat Boys was made up of three guys, MC’s Prince Markie D and Kool Rock-Ski and the star of the group, The Human Beatbox himself Buff Love.
Not to say that the Mcs were bad or anything because they definitely were not but Buff was the thing that made the Fat Boys stand out from the pack.
While not the guy who invented beatboxing Buff Love was an earlier adopter and really cracked some skulls with the depth of his bass drops. Alongside dudes like Dougie Fresh and self-proclaimed inventor of the Beat Box Swifty, Buff brought the art to the mainstream.
The Human Beat Box was released May 29th 1984 on Sutra Records. The album was produced by old school rap legend Kurtis Blow. Initially the record was released on vinyl and cassette. CDs didn’t follow until 2011. It’s currently out of print but there was a recent special edition vinyl release where the album looked like a pizza and it came packed in a pizza box. I would like to have that.
Pretty soon after first appearing on the music scene The Fat Boys briefly crossed over into mainstream culture, scoring multiple TV guest appearances, including an episode of Miami Vice and better yet a bit part in Run DMC’s movie: Krush Groove.
In 1987 the guys starred in the slapstick comedy flick Disorderlies which took advantage of The Fat Boys naturally humorous attitudes and presented them as useless hospital orderlies. It was an alright movie but not something that I’d recommend to anyone that i cared about.
The Human Beat Box Buff Love passed away Dec 10th 1995 of a heart attack. The group soldiers on without him and plans to release a reunion album any day now. Really though as much as I like them without Buff what’s the point?
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