XXL celebrates 50 years of hip-hop with this moment:
March 26, 1990: Digital Underground was a pioneering rap group from Oakland, Calif., that brought joy and funk to the world. Thirty-three years ago, D.U. released on this day their debut album, Sex Packets, and introduced a brand new funk and a zany character who taught us all how to do the Humpty dance.
Digital Underground was founded in 1987 and featured members Gregory “Shock G” Jacobs, Ronald “Money B” Brooks,, Jimi “Chopmaster J” Dright, David “DJ Fuze” Elliott, singer Earl “Schmoovy Schmoov” Cook and the late Kenneth “Kenny-K” Waters. As a group, they produced their own brand of Parliament/Funkadelic-sampled grooves over hip-hop beats before Dr. Dre delivered his brand of G-Funk on The Chronic album in 1992.
Digital Underground was the first act signed to TNT Records, an independent Bay Area label founded by Atron Gregory, who got his start in the music business as a road manager for N.W.A. His label got picked up by Tommy Records and thus launched D.U.’s career.
The group’s debut Sex Packets is a funk-filled concept album about a scientist who created “G.S.R.A.” (Genetic Suppression Relief Antidotes), a drug that causes those who ingest it to have a satisfying sexual experience in any situation. This brings us to the song “Doowutchyalike,” in which Shock G encourages men and women to have uninhabited fun. “I mean rich, poor, high, low, or upper-middle class/Let’s all get together and have a few laughs/And dowhatyoulike,” he raps.
But the LP’s highlight is “The Humpty Dance,” a rubberized-sounding banger that set off the Humpty dance craze courtesy of Shock G’s rap alter ego Humpty Hump.
“Humpty’s like a nerd version of a pimp n***a, with a little perv mentality from Benny Hill and some Morris Day [of the R&B group Time],” Shock told XXL magazine in 1998.
“The Humpty Dance” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Rap Songs chart during the week of March 17, 1990 and held the spot for five consecutive weeks. As for Sex Packets, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the album platinum on Sept. 18, 1990.
Sadly, Shock G passed away on April 22, 2021 at age 57. Shock’s father, Edward Racker, told TMZ that the multi-instrumentalist was found dead in a hotel room in Tampa, Fla. Weeks later, the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner in Tampa, Fla. confirmed that Shock died from an accidental drug overdose due to a deadly mixture of fentanyl, ethanol (alcohol) and methamphetamine.
Digital Underground was one of hip-hop’s most musically-inclined rap groups with Shock G as their visionary funk maestro. Shock was a talented multi-instrumentalist who wanted bring joy to the world. He will be sorely missed.
Watch Digital Underground’s “The Humpty Dance” Video Below
Watch a Tribute Video to Shock G Below
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