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The Bridgeport, Connecticut-based trio The Skinny Boys made their debut in 1986 when the Hip Hop group dropped "Weightless". Clearly seeing themselves as the opposite to The Fat Boys (a much more successful Hip Hop trio out of Brooklyn, New York these comprise of the same outfit with Shockin' Shawn and Superman Jay as the rappers and then The Human Jock Box as their beatboxer to provide whatever they required for support.
The album kicks off in a big way with a cut that has the act's Human Jock Box throwing down some intense beats. It seems that he just takes directly from Buffy (of The Fat Boys's style) but you can't really complain as he does it well). From there the two rapper rhyme together and show great chemistry with their beatmaker and the additional production behind them) on this heavy opener.
With this one we're taken right in with a cut which simply has them promoting unity. I thought that they did things well here as they go out with a cut which has the rappers showing what they are individually about (where the last one had them flowing the same rhymes with each other). This one takes on a subtle "Take Me To The Mardi Gras" break and I thought that it suited the way they throw down here.
3. "Get Funky"
I have to say that I thought what's found here was a little ahead of its time. This can't be said of the rhymes as they simply go off with the same old Fat Boys/Beastie Boys/Run-D.M.C. style here but the bass that the Jock Box delivers with this one is of a style that wouldn't be heard in Hip Hop until the nineties and I thought that it was great in pushing this one along and setting it apart from others who were working at this time.
The titular track to this suitably-named album is a big one. Here we get more great use of The Human Jock Box's talent when it comes to mimicking electronic sounds. This one has a heavy sub bass groove running through it and it shows that although they may not have much in the way of physical weight, their presence on the track is far too weighty to be ignored as it's hardcore and ensures the job is done right.
I thought that the act did well with this one as they bring another fun and lively track that all are bound to be drawn towards as its nothing more than feel-good Rap and reflects the fact that The Fat Boys (who they modelled their style on) was about Pop Rap and so were instrumental in allowing for Hip Hop's breakthrough into mainstream culture through the eighties. Here The Skinny Boys get 'Ill' and do it as few others could.
6. "Feed Us The Beat"
In an attempt to get their weight up, this one gets them munching on the beat that they get up over here as they take on some Heavy Metal. I thought that it was a good way to take things as it was a popular edge to Hip Hop around about this time. Having said this, the way things were put together weren't all that smooth and so mean that the tune was hard to digest and get a real feel for (as was possible with most others).
I thought that the act really pulled things back up for this one as they get up into a track which takes on a much more straight-forward structure to it, and so wasn't as much of an effort to get down with. The rapper go in hard with the rhymes that they deliver and so although the things that they flow about may not have any real substance to it, these days of Hip Hop were much more naive that what it would become by the end of that decade.
8. "Rip The Cut"
This one is really all about the production as it's focused upon the way that the thing is cut up by their DJ (Superman Jay, who also rapped in the group). The excessively-slow pace of it was a little hard for me to really get and so it meant that it took a while to adapt to, but I thought that it made things sound much harder. Having said this, there's a reason why no others tried it out as it lacks syncopation and seems to make the standards slip a bit.
9. "Skinny Boys"
The album ends with an eponymous track. I thought that it was a nice way to end things off with as they do a track just as The fat Boys had and on it they come up with another bumping track with lively production which is complimented by their beatboxer and so makes for a very nice overall piece that'll appeal to you if you're into these 'Middle School' years which preceded the Golden Age and came after the pioneering first recorded Old School years where the likes of Grandmaster Flash and Cold Crush ruled.
Aside from two tracks which simply weren't put together well at all, this is a solid album and one filled with feel-good Rap that just about anyone can get down with. There's lots packed into it and although what they did was far from original, it seemed to compliment what else was going on at the time and is certainly worth a listen if you were into their contemporaries.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Jock Box
3 Get Funky
6 Feed Us The Beat
8 Rip The Cut
9 Skinny Boys