How To Get a Hip Hop Loving Dad to Dance | The Voice Of Choice
Hi, this is Repo136 from the Ageing B-Boys Unite! blog and Dan has very kindly invited me to give you a rundown of some songs that give the more mature hip hop family man the impetus to get up and shake his arthritic bits and bobs.
Let me first explain that I am by no means a good dancer. No. Not. At. All. In fact I fall deep into the category known as ‘Two Left Feet‘ Syndrome whereby I possess as much grace on the dancefloor as an ice-skating baby Bambi wearing rollerskates.
There is a particular reason why I tend to stand behind the turntables rather than in front of them.
With that said, we shall crack on with some tunes that send an instinctive urge to the fully-grown hippity-hopper to start throwing up his arms and thrusting his loins in a somewhat frightening manner to the uninitiated.
1. The Sugarhill Gang – Apache
The first choice on my list is the classic Apache from The Sugarhill Gang. As soon as you hear those bongos you impulsively have to do the ‘Carlton Dance‘. It’s the law! In fact it is the YMCA equivalent of hip hop!
Old hip hoppers still love to pretend we’re gangsta and upon hearing this gritty and grimy number will unleash a zombie-like uprising of arms in the air with ‘gun-fingers‘ in any over-40s disco. B-Boys pretend they don’t like rock music but will still mosh to this like a teenager at a Nirvana concert.
This is the song that sorts the men out from the boys. So you’re at the annual Christmas party and talking shop with Bill from Accounts? Holding an intellectual conversation with Colin about current market trends? Once that initial staccato female vocal is heard then you’re already uprocking to the dancefloor and you become 14 years old again.
Now that us hip hop dads have warmed up – or instead crumpled in a heap of Ben Sherman, bones and original CK One (‘it worked with yer Mum in 1994, it’ll still have the same effect now!‘) – a bit of pop-funk from MJ should be a doddle. Unfortunately The Moonwalk still eludes many and so the crotch-grabbing boogie instead is the order of the day – usually your own at least.
Now we’re talking! Bel Biv Devoe with their “mentally hip hop smoothed out on the R&B tip with a pop appeal” sound is now cranking out and everyone thinks that they’re MC Hammer. The drink has to be free-flowing when this one is on as it’s a guaranteed floor-filler of Running Men. Watch those elbows!
6. Kid N Play – Do This My Way
As long as the dancefloor is heating up then this next track is sure to keep feet tapping. The afore-mentioned ‘Running Man‘ dance is almost de rigeur for Sugar Bear as well as a whole heap of tunes from the era where hip hop was constantly being produced for the whole body rather than just the head.
This song by the Tuff Crew is great for those with a flair for hitting the dancefloor and also for those who can appreciate a band who are just about on the safe side of the gangsta scene. There seem to be certain songs from the culture’s older school that were made for dancing which is sadly on the decline in it’s later years.
It is with pure serendipity that this and the previous song I’ve chosen here both contain elements of the James Brown-produced Lynn Collins corker Think (About It).
What we’re gonna do right now is go back, way back….back into time. Well, 1969 to be exact when JB was about to enter his truly funky phase. He knew how to write a damn fine dance tune did old Mr Brown as can be found by the merest of research into Golden Era hip hop samples and their use on a myriad of floor-fillers.
The whole of this song is dance heaven with it’s gentle organ and driving groove that will get everyone shaking their tail feather. If you make it to the five-minute mark then I applaud you. However it is at that point that the b-boys will take to the floor and mortals like myself suddenly remember an imaginary appointment and leave, sharpish.
And so the we arrive at the last tune on my list and it is a nice, easy, hands-high plodder which even the most dancefloor-dodging Dad can enjoy. This is a head-nodding dance that can be attempted even in the smallest space as all is required is two arms, preferably held in the air during the chorus, swaying side by side as if you are at Woodstock, minus the lighter. Minimal use of legs or feet is needed as the emphasis really is in the upper body.
So there we have it. Hip Hop was borne out of house parties, block parties, dances at rec rooms and after-hours school halls. It evolved from hard frenetic funk music from the 1960s and 70s. Like it or not, it is a music that demanded you dance to it and no matter how old you become you will always feel that urge. Go and embarrass your kids. Or better still teach them a thing or two along the way and let them know that music really was better in the good old days!