Popdose Flashback ’91: Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch, “Music For the People”

 

I called it. Back in about August of 1991, I remember saying to my friends that one day this white rapper from Music For the People was going to be an A-List movie actor and be nominated for an oscar or two. Could I have been more on the mark with this one?

That’s obviously a total lie and there couldn’t have been a man in the world including Mr. Wahlberg himself that could have predicted this level of acting success for him. Like it or not, Mark Wahlberg’s career begins with his group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch – a crew supposedly put together to give him more of a street feel, consisting of Scottie Gee, DJ-T, Ashey Ace, the creatively named Hector the Booty Inspector and a handful of fine ladies.

The hit was of course “Good Vibrations” which not only went to #1 and was everywhere at every moment but was undeniably catchy – fuck, still is really. So was the third single, “I Need Money.” At the time, I’m not sure I believed Marky Mark as he was singing about the gritty street life in second single “Wildside” but now that he’s a major star and more of his backstory has come out he did actually seem to live the hard life himself – so the narrations he spews forth about life in general actually seem more believable now than they ever did.

Regarding “Good Vibrations,” Marky Mark is a boxer in the video and for it he was trained by Irish Micky Ward, whom he ended up playing in The Fighter, so looking back now, there’s a connection to his present career. Weird facts about the song include the fact that one of the writing credits goes to Dan Hartman (yes, the “I Can Dream About You” Dan Hartman) and that by sampling “Love Sensation” by Loleatta Holloway that gave her the only #1 hit of her long R&B and disco career.

Music For the People was actually produced quite well considering that his brother Donnie and Danny Wood from New Kids on the Block were used and in fact Donnie gets a writing credit on all but two of the 11 songs so he was not only making money off NKOTB but residuals from his brother as well. Family love right there.

Outside of the singles, I’m always a little torn on the record. I certainly liked it more when it came out in 1991 than I do now. Looking back, it’s good he got an acting career because while he wasn’t the worst rapper on the block, he wasn’t fantastic either and songs like “Marky Mark Is Here” and “On the House Tip” kind of fall flat. But even so, I can still listen to the record from start to finish so there’s something to that.

One thing you can’t go from start to finish on? How about Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch: Make My Video, a video game where you could make videos to Marky Mark’s hits. That has been stated on multiple gaming sites as one of the worst games ever made.

The group put out one other album in ’92 called You Gotta Believe and then went dark at which point Mark Wahlberg actually continued his music career unbeknownst to most of the U.S. at least, as he put out two albums with Prince Ital Joe which never saw the light of day over here. But he had a #1 hit in Germany with a track called “United” which you can see below.

The Funky Bunch “reunited” in 2008 with Hector the Booty Inspector and Scottie Gee pulling together a few other musicians to record some new dance music. In what has to be one of my favorite moments in the 3+ years now that I’ve been with Popdose, I actually tracked down Hector Barros, aka Hector the Booty Inspector and asked him a few questions about his time with the Funky Bunch;

What was it like being part of the massive hype surrounding the success of Music for the People and “Good Vibrations” in particular?

Well to be honest, things moved so fast and we were out on the road so much I really didn’t get a grasp on how big the situation was (but now in retrospect I realize it was huge for a short time) although I do remember hearing on the radio at an airport somewhere “Good Vibrations” being played and the DJ saying it was number one on the charts. That was a surreal feeling.

Be honest, did you ever think Marky Mark would turn into the superstar he is today?

To the point where Mark is now in his movie career, I’d have to say I don’t think I could have imagined it but i knew he would parlay the music thing and Calvin Klein ads into a movie career of somewhat…

Do you still listen to [Music for the People] at all and if so what do you think of it 20 years later?

Yeah, me and DJ T have done a few shows together and we have performed “Good Vibrations” “Wildside” and “On the House Tip.” I think the album is good [and] always had the feeling “Good Vibrations” would be big. I actually liked the album You Gotta Believe better.

I saw the funky bunch reunited a few years ago – so what’s Hector the Booty Inspector up to these days, more Funky Bunch tunes coming?

Like I said, me and DJ T have done some shows recently, mostly up in canada and are planning to be back up there soon. I myself also mentor and counsel incarcerated youth and we have a song on Youtube called “crank it up.”

Finally, just how much booty did you inspect?

Nah, didn’t really inspect to much booty. That name was given to me by Donnie [Whalberg]  (just Donnie being Donnie) and it kinda of stuck because it rhymed I guess.

Now, that last answer is quite a bummer as you know there’s got to be a market out there for teaching people how to inspect da booty! Either way, Music for the People was a nice trip down memory lane bit since Hector likes the follow up better, maybe I need to revisit that one as well.