Saturday, September 12, 2015

Call 9-7-6 For The 2 Live Crew's Ex Dancers

This is the kind of record you stumble across and have to buy ...assuming it's super cheap, of course. This is the one and only single by 9-7-6 (for you youngsters, a reference to 976 numbers that, like 1-900 numbers, were premium pay phone numbers you could call for adult chats). And what's so "must buy" about it? Because it says right on the sticker there, 9-7-6 are Luke & The 2 Live Crew's ex dancers. In 1996, they released their own 12" on Hurricane Records.

The song's called "Wha'sup?! - The Female Version." You'd probably expect it to be a diss at Luke and/ or the Crew, but nope. Disappointingly, they never even mention them. So what's this song a "female version" of? A little trend that was going on down South at the time.

In 1995, Atlanta's Diamond & D-Roc had a bit of a dance hit with "The Bankhead Bounce" (Bankhead is actually a city in Atlanta). Even if you're not into Southern rap stuff, you've probably heard of the dance, if not the actual record that spawned it. Well, a bit part of that song is a "what's up, what's up?" chorus. And shortly after that started blowing up, a group called The A-Town Players released a song called "Wassup Wassup" with basically the same chorus (including the "do the Bankhead bounce" part) a very similar instrumental. Then Playa Poncho and LA Sno released "Whatz Up, Whatz Up," and I don't think I need to tell you what that song was like.

So by 1996, 9-7-6 were a little late to the party. But that's what their song is, another "Wha'sup." It's produced by Stylz and the J.I.Z., a name you may not be familiar with, but Stylz is one of many of many aliases of Jan C Styles or Marvelous JC, a big time bass producer who'd been making records since the 80s. He may've even owned Hurricane Records. They also guest rap on here.

So this one's kinda fun. JC's a good producer, so it's one of the better Bankhead bounce rip-off's, with a lot of "Planet Rock" mixed into this version. This is definitely more of a Florida-style version than all those Atlanta versions. They don't even mention the Bankhead bounce dance; they've just latched onto the "what's up, what's up" part. Unfortunately, they're kind of boring as MCs. They not only neglect to mention their 2 Live origins, they don't say much of anything. They mention they're "sipping on cognac" in both verses and spend half the song just listing cities they want their record to play in. Honestly, Stylz and J.I.Z. probably should've made this record on their own and created another song for 9-7-6 to cash in on the "former dancers" angle.

They never made another record, so we don't really learn anything about 9-7-6. Their name implies a sexual edge, but they never go there on this song. It's not even clear how many of them there are (guessing: three?) or what their names are. The label mentions they're "comin' from da burg not from the bottom," so we know they're from St. Petersburg, Florida, not Miami. That's about it. Oh well, kind of a missed opportunity, but not a bad Bankhead bounce record if you're in the mood for dancing like it's the mid 90s again.

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