Saturday, June 23, 2007

Tonight It's Summertime

Well, it's officially summertime, and once again that means it's time for all the hip-hop radio stations and video shows (if there are any left, that is) to break out everybody's favorite seasonal rap (and their last well regarded song), DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince's "Summertime." Once again, everyone curiously opting to overlook my all-time favorite summertime anthem, Doug E. Fresh and the Get Fresh Crew's "Summertime."

Doug E's came out about two year's before Will Smith's, but it's not "Summertime" squatting rights that makes this my favorite - it's just a great f'ing song. Production is handled by The Get Fresh Crew (Chill Will and Barry Bee also get credit for cuts, but I'll be damned if I can hear any in any version of this song) and prolific dance music producer Todd Terry, but they've enlisted the help of the great 45 King for beat-programming and "Doo-Doo"s (dude, that's what the liner notes say... but once you hear the song, you'll know what they're talking about). Dawn Davis and Dave Bernard Wright provide the hook (there's also a childrens' chorus at the end, which is uncredited... a sample, perhaps?). Finger pops, changing piano loops, bouncing bassline... It's upbeat, dancable, jazzy and soulful all at the same time.

There was a video for this at the time, featuring a brief intro by DJ Red Alert over the radio as Doug E arrives and sets up to host a block party. Then it's Doug E rapping with everybody out dancing on the streets of New York on a bright, summer day. They even cut to cute little kids just like the Fresh Prince version would a few years down the road. Doug E kicks the sort of relaxing, easy listening type rhymes you'd expect from a summerday jam:

"Taking a trip down memory lane,
When me and the boys was playing a game
Of ball in the park;
Hangin' out at the block
Parties. You see a pretty girl you like?
She belong to somebody.
It ain't nuthin',
You keep on huntin';
'Cause sooner or later you'll run into someone
You like, or wanna be with,
Maybe just sleep with.
From that point, I think you'll wanna get deep with
Her or him or them,
Without a fear and a doubt.
Because it's summertime;
And that's what summertime's all about."

It winds up with a new piano loop kicking in for the breakdown, and Doug does a fresh human beatbox solo.

Granted, groups like The Sugarhill Gang ("Hot, Hot Summer Day") had touched on summertimesongs before; but to me this was always will be the ideal and pinnacle of hip-hop summertime raps, and it's a shame it hasn't been kept alive as much as it deserves.

Yes, Doug E Fresh has got a myspace page (Chill Will and DJ Barry Bee each have one, too); and he's also got a relly nice website at: According to his site, his upcoming album, Global Warming, with guest spots by Big Daddy Kane and Busy Bee, "will be available on June 15th." So far, it's still not available; but hey he's only a week late. Let's hope it does come out soon.


  1. Werner, I'm realizing now how truly legendary your discography site could be. You haven't even cataloged a sixteenth of your core collection. What the hell.

    The next level is waiting.

  2. Haha  More like one 116th.  ;)
    But, yeah... just listing everything I have would be impossible; and this format is so much more structured, organized, and hopefully useful to fans.  Yeah.  There's plenty more to come.  8)


  3. The State of New York is set to recognize 1520 Sedgwick Avenue as the birthplace of Hip-Hop and will be considered a landmark.

    Organizers will hold a press conference Monday July 23rd announcing New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation have approved a July 2nd application to make the site eligible to be considered a historic landmark. The office says the site "meets the eligibility criteria being that it is associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history."

    1520 Sedgwick Avenue will be eligible to be recognized as a national historic landmark by the State and National Register of Historic Places.

    The press conference takes place 9:30 a.m. at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the South Bronx.

                                        Platinum Ice Records
    Tom Simjian  203-506-0388  Sedgwick & Cedar Records