Posts Tagged ‘humpty dance

12
Aug
08

Digital Underground – Sex Packets

Whenever I end up DJing, I inevitably come across people who are dying to hear their favorite artist.  Of all these folk, none are more rabid than Tupac fans.

Not that I can blame them much.  I like Tupac too.  But for many years, before I started bringing Tupac’s Greatest Hits with me to every gig, I kept having conversations like this:

“Hey, do you have Tupac’s ‘How Do You Want it?'”

Me, pointing to my crates: “Ahh, sorry.  I didn’t bring any Tupac.”

“Crap.”

And then they’d walk away…only to return ten minutes later.

“Hey, you got any Tupac?”

Me: “Uh…no.  None has materialzed since you last asked me.”

You get asked a lot of ridiculous questions by ridiculous people when you DJ.

But what always got me about the Tupac fans was how many of them were completely ignorant of the fact that Tupac got the part playing the thug Bishop in “Juice” and then decided to act that way for the rest of his life.  Before that, he was just this incredibly goofy back up dancer for Digital Underground.

Group leader Greg “Shock G” Jacobs, also known as Humpty Hump,  got his start growing up in New York and South Florida before he brought his love of hip hop and 70’s funk to Oakland in the mid eighties.  He formed Digital Underground in 1987 with fellow members Money B, Piano  Man, 2Fly Eli, DJ Nu Stylez, Cleetus Mack, DJ Fuze and a slew of others including the earlier mentioned Tupac…and they were already a popular act when “Sex Packets” dropped.

Since then they have been touring for nearly twenty years straight.

Aside from the fact that they are my hometown boys (Oaktown!), Digital Underground represents an important part of the West Coast sound, as is apparent in their 1990 debut, “Sex Packets.”  A good portion of the end of my high school career were spent with this blaring out of my speakers.  And with good reason, with hits like ‘The Humpty Dance’ (which, incidentally can still get a party groovin,) ‘The Way We Swing,’ ‘Doowutchyalike’ and my personal gettin’ busy anthem ‘Freaks of the Industry’ how can you miss?  Their sound is just too infectious.

It’s interesting to note that it was released at the same time when Public Enemy’s star was on the rise with their release of the seminal “Fear of a Black Planet.” But Digital Underground decided to take an opposing road. Steering away from harder gangster trends in hip hop at the time, they strove to become a Funkadelic for a new generation, sampling heavily from said library and adorning his album covers with similar cartoon artwork.

And they had a lot of success with this formula too.

It’s kind of sad that the band has chosen to break up as of May of this year, but one can always look back at their humble beginnings and smile.  And when the dude a chump pump points a finger like a stump…tell him step off, I’m doin’ the Hump!

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