King Tim III (Personality Jock) by The Fatback Band - Roots of Rap

February 18, 2020

King Tim III (Personality Jock) by The Fatback Band

King Tim III (Personality Jock) by The Fatback Band
King Tim III (Personality Jock) is a proto rap track by The Fatback Band (later, simply Fatback), an American funk and disco band. The track featured on their album Fatback XII.
The song was released on March 25, 1979 as the B-Side to Fatback’s You’re My Candy Sweet, just a few months before Sylvia Robinson released The Sugarhill Gang's Rapper's Delight which is widely regarded as the first commercially released rap song.

King Tim III

The title refers to vocalist Tim Washington a.k.a. King Tim III: a Harlem rapper who would perform while the Fatback Band broke down their equipment, entertaining the crowd. Founder of the Fatback Bill Curtis does not claim that the Fatback invented rap music. There already was rapping everywhere in the Bronx.
Fatback certainly didn’t invent rap or anything. I was just interested in it and I guess years later we were the first to record it. At the time you could already see cats rapping everywhere in the streets and doing stuff.

The song was originally on the B-Side of You’re My Candy Sweet and was not an attempt to create a new sound. It wasn’t even intended to be a hit. However the song stalled at #67 after 4 weeks on the R&B chart, radio stations flip it over to King Tim III that peaked at #26 and stayed on for 11 weeks.  Fatback likely didn't realize they might have been ushering in the next dominant style in American pop music history. 
To the break everybody
You keep the tap in your step, the hip in your hop
You don't stop 'till you get on the mount top
Once you reach the top you won't be alone
You got King Tim on the microphone

Source: DJ Rob Blog, The Guardian, Songfacts, Wikipedia
Source image: Wikipedia

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