Friday, October 21, 2011

Digital Underground -- "The Return of the Crazy One" (1993)

Speaking of hankies, I like hanky-panky
Especially when the hanky-panky's stanky
Of course, ain't gonna be too much stanking
'Cause then my duty would be to give the booty a spanking
I like biscuits and grits on the sausage
When Greg "Shock G" Jacobs formed Digital Underground in Oakland, California, in the late 1980s, he planned to make music that paid tribute to the Black Panthers.  But then Public Enemy sort of preempted the whole black militant thing, and Jacobs decided that a more lighthearted approach might be just the ticket.

Greg "Shock G" Jacobs
(As an aside, Shock G has one of the more diverse stable of great-grandparents you'll ever want to meet: Pakistani, Indian, Jewish, Puerto Rican, Haitian, Trinidadian, Guyanese, and Irish.  Eat your heart out, President Obama!)

If you remember anything about Digital Underground, you probably remember their first hit single, "The Humpty Dance."  Like many Digital Underground songs, it features samples from Parliament or Funkadelic records -- Shock G was a huge George Clinton fan, as were many other rappers.  The music video for "The Humpty Dance" ran on MTV about two million times. 

Humpty Hump's nose
"The Humpty Dance" and many other Digital Underground songs featured Humpty Hump, who was Shock G's buffoonish alter ego.  Humpty Hump's real name was supposedly Edward Ellington Humphrey III, the lead singer of "Smooth Eddie and the Humpers" until he burned his nose in an accident involving a deep fryer.  Consequently, Humpty always appeared wearing a large fake nose.
"The Humpty Dance" is one of the most sampled rap songs ever -- Ice Cube, LL Cool J, Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch, Public Enemy, Redman, Sade, the Spice Girls, and Will Smith are some of the better-known artists to incorporate a little taste of "The Humpty Dance" into their recordings.

I guess I should show you the video for "The Humpty Dance," although that song is not the focus of today's lecture:

The song we are focusing on today is "The Return of the Crazy One," from Digital Underground's 1993 album, The Body-Hat Syndrome.  I think it's Humpty Hump's finest effort, even though I have no clue what most of the lyrics really mean.  But I am pretty sure they are really, really dirty.

By the way, Tupac Shakur made his rap debut with Digital Underground.  Shock G helped produced his first album, 2Pacalypse Now (1991), and also produced Tupac's first hit single, "I Get Around" (1993). 

Here's "The Return of the Crazy One."  There are about 10,000 people in the video, and they are all having more fun than any of us have ever had.

Click here to buy the song from Amazon:

1 comment:

  1. he says I like biscuits n grits "hold" the sausage.
    Humpty's a vegetarian