Thursday, December 26, 2019

"Ronnies Rapp" by Ron and the D.C. Crew

Song#:  2993
Date:  01/24/1987
Debut:  95
Peak:  93
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Novelty, Rap

Pop Bits:  In 1981, Miami radio station lost its license and was forced to shut down. The station was revived in 1985 and then the following year became the dance/mix station WPOW-FM. A new morning show was introduced with a team of personalities that included Mark Moseley. Moseley was know for his imitation of celebrities along with creating his own characters. A voice that he did particularly well was that of President Ronald Reagan. Reagan was about midway into his second term at the time when Moseley had the idea to do a rap tune as Reagan for the radio show. He recorded a rap that wase simply intended to be aired as a comedic bit on the station's morning show. After it aired, Moseley was approached by a local producer who wanted to make it into a 12" single. Moseley agreed to having the song released. It was first issued via a new Miami dance music production company Hot Productions with the actual label imprint on the disc appropriately tagged as White House Records. The record gained enough attention that Profile Records (the label Run-D.M.C. were on) came calling and offered to distribute the song nationally. The novelty track earned enough sales and airplay for it to reach the Pop chart where it stayed near the bottom for a month. While it wasn't a major hit, it did bring attention to the radio station and it helped to kickstart a new career for Moseley as a celebrity impressionist.

ReduxReview:  I was truly surprised when I found this on Spotify. It's an obscure novelty record so I thought for sure I'd have to try and find it on YouTube. As I've mentioned many times before, I'm not a fan of novelty tunes, especially ones that reference a certain fad, time period, celebrity, etc., as they quickly become outdated. In this case it was a political era reference. Like most modern day presidents, Reagan was imitated and parodied quite a bit. Even the British band Genesis featured Reagan as the main character in a music video ("Land of Confusion"). I'm sure many other radio shows did their own skits and songs featuring Reagan at the time, but this clash of cultures one seemed to stand out. I could see this as a skit on Mad TV. It's actually not too bad. The Reagan voice is solid, the production is pretty good for a radio station one-off, and the lyrics leaned towards the smart side of things rather than just trying to be funny. Do I need to hear this more than once? Hell no. But for the time period it came out in it was slightly above average for a novelty track.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) Moseley would push out a couple more singles of songs he did for the morning show after this one. Under the same Ron and the D.C. Crew moniker, Moseley put out the timely "Hello Donna Rice Goodbye Heart." Moseley set his parody of the Gary Hart/Donna Rice affair to the melody of "Hello Mary Lou," a song made famous in 1961 by Ricky Nelson (#6 Pop). Moseley also released "Tyrone's Rap," which was a tune based on an original character he had developed for the morning show. Both were released locally on indie labels.  2) Moseley was a radio personality for many years. He then parlayed his experience there into a career as a voice-over artist. Many times he acted like a stunt double for an actual celebrity. For example, in the 2007 film The Simpsons Movie, instead of getting Arnold Schwarzenegger to voice himself as the President, the producers hired Moseley to do Schwarzenegger's voice (this was for the English international version of the film as they went with Harry Shearer's parody voice for the US release). He also replaced Eddie Murphy as the voice for the character Mushu in Mulan II when Murphy didn't sign on for the sequel as well as doing Murphy's Donkey character in several Shrek products.


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