Like many of the examples in this collection, it’s difficult to appreciate just how arresting this track was upon its release.
Back in 1985, there hadn’t been too many human beatbox / sample heavy hip-hop tracks in mainstream charts around the world.
Doug E Fresh and MC Rick D (a.k.a. Slick Rick) broke new ground when they combined to change that with a release that yielded classic cuts on both sides of the vinyl.
The lead track ‘The Show’ samples the Beatles and the Inspector Gadget theme tune, as it leads us through the twists of turns of the countdown to a live performance.
The flip-side ‘La-Di-Da-Di’ comprises Fresh’s human beat box underneath Rick’s storytelling, as he takes us through an example day in his life.
Perhaps due to its acapella presentation, ‘La-Di-Da-Di’ has become one of the most sampled records in history – to name but a few, Biggie Small’s ‘Hypnotize’ (1997), Snoop Dogg’s ‘Lodi Dodi’ (1993) and more recently Miley Cyrus’ ‘We Can’t Stop’ (2013 are just three examples that lift from it.
Soon after this release, MC Rick D would rebrand himself and sign to Def Jam as a solo artist, where he’d later release The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, which would hit top spot on the US Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop chart.
Sadly he would later spend several years in prison for the attempted murder of his cousin, and for run-ins with the Immigration and Naturalisation Service over his residency in the US.
Although a New Yorker, Slick Rick was actually born in London in 1965, and actually, his unique style owes something to this heritage.
Often referred to as hip-hop’s greatest storyteller, Rick was unique in delivering detailed pre-prepared narratives in a clearly enunciated semi-English style, rather than the more freestyle flow of themed consciousness of contemporaries such as the Sugarhill Gang.
Doug E Fresh, a New Yorker originating from Barbados, recorded for various labels and with various collaborators in the following years, achieving major success with a collaboration called ‘Freaks’, recorded with Jamaican rapper Vicious in 1993.
Between 2007 and 2011, Fresh would enjoy a different kind of fame, thanks to the popularisation by rapper Lil’ Will of the ‘Dougie’ dance, featuring a shimmy and a hand passing through the hair.
The dance was performed by celebrities and athletes in public across the US and Fresh would later appear on ESPN to explain the mid-1980s origins of the phenomenon.
As for the duo, they’d reunite to record a critically acclaimed album together in 1995, but ‘The Show’ and ‘La-Di-Da-Di’ remain by some distance the duo’s best known and best loved tracks.
Cat No: COOLX116