Picks and Pans Review: Crushin'

updated 07/13/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/13/1987 AT 01:00 AM EDT

The Fat Boys

Have these rapping pranksters gone serious? It certainly seems so when you drop the needle down on the title (and first) track of the Boys' new album. There's nothing cartoonish here. The song is a tonal juggernaut, with all the grim rock firepower of Run-D.M.C. That is followed by Protect Yourself, a sermonette to "all the homeboys out there" on safe sex. Just when you think the Fat Boys have lost their vaunted sense of humor, however, they segue into My Nuts, an outrageous, if cryptic, meditation on the male anatomy. That sudden transition from solemn to salacious is among the most jarring and schizophrenic in modern music and kicks this record into high gear. More and more, rap groups are using a full musical complement rather than just percussion to back their doggerel. The Fat Boys strike up the band on several tracks, including Boys Will Be Boys, on which Darren "The Human Beat Box" Robinson gets a workout and the guys poke fun at Cameo's vocal tricks. In Westerns one cowboy will say to another, "There ain't room enough in these here parts for the two of us." The Boys prove the validity of that displacement concept in re-creating the Surfaris' Wipeout. The song was recorded with the Beach Boys, but the rappers' rambunctiousness steals the day. Wipeout, which has more Brooklyn in it than Malibu, proves the Fat Boys are overweight dominators. The rest of the album proves they have charm—an eccentric, chubby kind of charm, anyway. (Tin Pan Apple/Polygram)

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