On this day, remixer Jason Nevins turned Run-DMC’s classic song “It’s Like That” into worldwide EDM hit, De La Soul released their stellar album Grind Date and Digital Underground was protected with The Body-Hat Syndrome. Check it out below.
1993: Digital Underground releases The Body-Hat Syndrome
More than a year after Sons of the P, Digital Underground returned with their third full-length album, The Body-Hat Syndrome. The collection, produced by D-Flow Productions (Shock G, Gary Katz and DJ JZ), contained the anthemic “The Return of the Crazy One” and the socially-conscious track “Wussup Wit the Luv” featuring a powerful verse from Tupac Shakur who then left the group to pursue a solo career.
“From ’93 on, I didn’t see him no more. He was big Tupac and we watched it unfold with everybody else on TV,” Shock G told Rolling Stone in 2017. “I only saw him for business. I showed up in L.A. to dump the tracks for [1995’s] Me Against the World. I did three tracks for that album, which they used two. When I was in L.A. dumping those three songs for him is when I said, ‘Yo, I need you on this Digital Underground song,’ and I gave him the pre-beat to [1993’s] “Wussup Wit the Luv” and a couple weeks later he showed up in Berkeley (Calif.) where we did that [shoot] at a house.”
“I didn’t want just bubblegum, fun and games with [‘The Humpty Dance’] to just be Digital only legacy,” he continued. “So I had to do something with some meaning to it. So [‘Wussup Wit the Luv’] was a little forced. [2Pac] dropped that verse on that and that little talking part, too. It’s a nice little thing he did.”
1997: Producer Jason Nevins remixes Run-DMC’s “It’s Like That”
In 1997, Run-DMC received a career boost thanks to a then-unknown producer named Jason Nevins. The Los Angeles native remixed the iconic rap group’s classic 1983 track “It’s Like That” and it became an unlikely worldwide hit.
Over a pounding house music-infused beat, the new version skyrocketed to No. 1 on 30 music charts in 30 different countries. Nevins’ remix went on to sell five million copies worldwide, but unfortunately, he didn’t receive any royalties from it, much to his chagrin.
For Run-DMC, the remix put them in high demand for tours overseas, where the song initially took off with U.K. clubgoers.
“We kept getting calls because we knew about Jason Nevins’ record coming out, although we didn’t have nothin’ to do with it,” recalled DMC in a 1998 interview with Bombhiphop. “But now, the booking agency is getting all these calls because they’re saying you’ve got a number one record in Europe, and it’s number one over there and it’s number one in Australia and the record’s big in the U.K. So when we were coming to Europe [and] we did a whole month in Germany. This record has given us some momentum to come out here and introduce a whole new generation of fans to hip-hop – not just Run-DMC, but to hip-hop.”
2004: Wyclef Jean goes back to his roots on Welcome to Haiti: Creole 101
It’s no secret that Wyclef Jean has love for his native homeland of Haiti. On his fifth album, Welcome to Haiti: Creole 101, the former Fugees member went back to his roots and offered a mix of Creole music with reggae, dancehall and hip-hop. Produced by Jean and his longtime collaborator Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis, the album is a celebration of Haiti and the different sounds from the Caribbean country.
The main highlight on the album is the political song “President” where Clef ponders on what he would do if he ever become president.
“If I was President, all blacks will have reparation, no segregation / Feed the nation ’til there is no famine / Muslims, Jews, Christians would all hold hands / Every week on the beach, party by the sand, word up,” he raps.
“I was just freestyling this song and I had my little cousins in the studio,” Wyclef explained the song’s origins to Riotsound. “They are still in school and they always come to see me and I tell ‘em – basically man, ya’ll could do whatever ya’ll want, ya’ll could be the president. “Not [necessarily] the President of the United States [but] ya’ll could be president in ya’ll community or you could be the president of the basketball team or you can be the president of your class and you could also be the President of the United States. So that’s how the song came about.”
2004: De La Soul delivers a harder sound on the stellar Grind Date
After a six-album run on Tommy Boy Records, De La Soul released their seventh project The Grind Date on this day via Sanctuary Records.
De La Soul surprised both critics and fans alike with their diverse and harder sound on the album. Many scoffed that the rap trio was trying to compete with millennial rappers and, in doing so, lost their musical identity. But in a 2004 interview with MV Remix, Posdnuos argued the group’s sound had been evolving since 1991’s De La Soul Is Dead and they are not stuck in making ’90s boom-bap rap.
“I’m so blessed to say that we have remained to be students of hip-hop,” he said. “I feel one of our best ingredients is that we’re open to change and we are open to what really goes on now in the present. We are not one of those groups that gets stuck in the fact that we were so successful in ’89 and had this life altering album that we have to stick around and only make music like that.”
Heather Headley and Brooke Valentine are born
Tony and Grammy Award-winning artist Heather Headley was born on this day in 1975 on the island of Trinidad and Tobago. Currently, the singer-actress has a recurring role on NBC’s hit medical drama Chicago Med. Fellow R&B singer Brooke Valentine was born on this day in 1984. The Houston native, who is mostly known for her 2005 Crunk/R&B hit “Girlfight,” is a cast member on VH1’s popular reality show Love & Hip Hop: Hollywood.