Thursday, January 26, 2017

"Jam on It" by Newcleus

Song#:  1922
Date:  06/02/1984
Debut:  95
Peak:  56
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Rap, Hip-Hop

Pop Bits:  This group first got started when they would play block parties in their home base of Brooklyn. A demo of their song "Jam on Revenge" caught the attention of a producer who eventually got the song released on the Sunnyview label. The song did well enough to reach #26 at R&B. This next single then got issued as a follow-up. The song's groovy bass line, sped-up vocals, and outer space lyrics caught a lot of ears and it jammed its way to #6 at R&B.  Dance took to the song as well and it got to #16 there. Even some stations at Pop caught on and the single nearly got into the top half of that chart. Unfortunately, this would pretty much be it for the group. Their follow-up singles fared poorly and after two LPs, the main era of the group ended. Despite not having any further success, Newcleus left behind this hit, which is now considered an influential rap/hip-hop classic.

ReduxReview:  For me, I remember this being a major roller skating floor filler. I was a DJ at a skating rink later in the 80s and even then the song was still popular. I'd get requests for it quite a bit. The kids loved jamming to this in the rink and the better the jam, the faster a lot of them would skate. I'd usually save this to play near the end of the session. I'd set the tone with the lights and effects, slam this on, and the kids would go nuts. The skate guards hated when I played it because the floor would be packed and the kids who skated fast were whipping around the rink dodging people. A couple of times the manager would make me turn the song off because the kids were in a "frenzy." Hey - that was my job! Entertain the little fuckers! It was an awesome jam then, and it still is now. I'm ready to lace up and get out on the floor!

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  This song famously contained the "wikki-wikki-wikki" line that sort of became a signature for the group. It was initially used in their first single, which later got an updated title of "Jam on Revenge (The Wikki-Wikki Song)." Since "Jam on It" was almost an extension of that song, the wikki-wikki came along for the ride. Group member Cosmo D mentioned that he first heard it following a crew battle. A DJ from another group told Cosmo D that he though they were good, but they couldn't do what he was doing and he proceeded to do some scratching and along with it he blurted out "wikki-wikki-wikki." Cosmo D brushed him off, but he never forgot that "wikki" tidbit and ended up tossing it into "Jam on Revenge." That little part is what hook the producer who got the group their label deal.


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