Old Skool Review: Digital Underground
If there’s been any unifying link to the hip hop i tend to enjoy, it’s that the shit tends to be non-mainstream at best, downright weird at worst. Today’s Old Skool Review on Digital Underground probably proves that point better than any other group i’ve recommended here.
For most of you who do recall this hip hop family, all you probably remember is “Humpty Dance” and/or maybe “Doowutchyalike.” Those with a few more brain cells might even remember “No Nose Job” or “Kiss You Back.” Hopefully, nobody has wasted any memory chips on Nothing But Trouble, but i digress. What few causal fans recall, however, is that the band was one of the foremost proponents and practitioners of Dog Style Funk. Hell, Sons of the P, the group’s third album, featured George Clinton on vocals and writing, one of his earliest forays into the genre. While only Shock G (aka Humpty Hump) and Money B were the only two (OK, three) names on each and every album, the collective vibe and myriad characters created over the life of their discography puts Wu-Tang to shame.
Me, i happened to catch the band a few times, and each was a more memorable experience than the previous, though that arguably had little to do with the music and a lot more to do with my recollections. The first time was on a group tour back in ’90 or ’91 in Philly. You guessed it, Tupac Shakur was one of their dancers back then, and i saw it myself. (He also rapped on a few tracks, including “Same Song” and “I Get Around.”) The second time actually was at a George Clinton and the P. Funk All-Stars concert in NYC. Shock G came onstage at one point, sans fake nose, to spit a few verses. At the end of that, he informed the audience that he was on acid for the first time in his life. Now, he could have been talking shit for whatever reason, but as he was walking off stage, one of the guitarists started waving at G, who stopped, entranced, apparently to watch the finger trails (some of you know what i mean). Hell, i wasn’t mad at him. The last time was here in good, ol’ D.C. i was with an ex-gf, and as is my way, after a couple of drinks and getting my groove on, i started buying drinks for everybody in the joint. (Ed. note: catching Terrible before he takes one drink too many is to be caught up in the tsunami that is the the life of the party.) After shooting the shit with some couple for a while, they told the ex- and i that they were swingers and were we interested? Particularly as i was single and she was hot, i was game, but, much to my chagrin, the ex- was not, and it was clearly a package deal situation or no passing go. i’m still pissed at that ex-, now that i think about it. Oh well. C’est la vie.
Unlike the Pharcyde, who recently reunited, Shock G “officially” disbanded the group in 2008, though their final album, “‘Cuz a DU Party Don’t Stop” came out a few months after the fact. And with that, one of hip hop’s most unique and funk’s greatest bands went the way of the dodo. Burger King bathrooms will never be the same again.