“Are You Ready For Freddy” by the Fat Boys, from A Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master

are you ready cover

If you’re not read Ed Piskor’s Hip Hop Family Tree, you can be faulted for thinking that the Fat Boys were just another novelty group, the likes of which littered the ’80s. However, for thems what know, the Fat Boys actually started out as the Disco 3, winning a talent competition sponosred by Swatch in the early ’80s, and gaining popularity through a series of MTV commercials.

The beatboxing of Big Buff Love is usually forgotten in the wake of Doug E. Fresh and Biz Markie, but the Human Beatbox’s work probably inspired more kids than I can count. Sure, the Fat Boys starred in Disorderlies, a movie which is simultaneously loved and hated just as much as Run-DMC’s Tougher Than Leather. Also, their best-known hit was a remake of “The Twist” featuring Chubby Checker, with a video that’s pretty cheesy, even for ’80s hip-hop standards.

But … despite the fairly atrocious “Baby You’re a Rich Man” from Disorderlies, the Fat Boys might’ve recorded one of the best horror movie soundtrack songs you’ve probably long since forgotten, probably because there are two Nightmare On Elm Street-themed hip-hop tunes, both released right around the same time. Like most folks, I’m sure you probably think that DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s “Nightmare on My Street” is the real deal holyfield.

True: “Nightmare on My Street” does kick off their platinum-selling double LP, He’s The DJ, I’m the Rapper. It also uses a piano hook that’s not particularly dissimilar to the iconic NOES theme by Charles Bernstein, and quotes copiously from Freddy’s best lines (“The souls of your friends you and I will claim/ You’ve got the body, and I’ve got the brain.”)

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However, while it was evidently considered for inclusion in The Dream Master, the producers opted not to use it. The Fat Boys’ “Are You Ready for Freddy” not only got played during the movie’s end credits, it got Robert Englund to do all the Freddy bits in the song. Englund actually raps enough to be a fourth member of the group, unlike your standard “four bars and out” guest spot on most tracks.

And, of course, there’s an official music video featuring Englund in full Freddy makeup. The Fat Boys inherit the Elm Street house where Nancy and her mother lived, and have to stay the night to collect an inheritance. Standard horror movie tropes, but first of all: the boys show up on scooters (!), wearing striped shirts (!!), and spend the first minute of the video boasting and bragging about how this isn’t a big deal.

are you ready

The rest of the video’s mainly Prince Markie Dee and Kool Rock-ski fronting about how badass they are while Big Buff Love runs around, terrified, trying to get them to leave. Freddy shows up and stalks them and they run around like it’s an episode of Scooby Doo, until they haul ass out the house.

It’s ridiculous, and played for laughs, but props to the actual shots from The Dream Master, which are pretty gory at the beginning. Plus, the song samples Heather Langenkamp’s “don’t fall asleep” bit from the first movie, making this arguably more authentic in terms of its connections to the NOES franchise, the Fresh Prince’s status notwithstanding.

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“Are You Ready For Freddy” can be found on the Fat Boys’ 1988 album, Coming Back Hard Again, which also features “The Twist,” and I may have purchased on cassette when I was eight.

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