I was at a sporting event at the weekend. The stadium DJ played “Jump” at half-time and had the whole ground rocking. I’d forgotten what a good record “Jump” is.

The version the DJ played was essentially a loop of the chorus…

Jump, jump
The Mac Dad will make ya jump, jump
The Daddy Mac will make ya jump, jump
Kris Kross will make ya jump, jump

That’s all it took to get the stadium on its feet and bouncing around. Just 25 words (8 of them “jump”) and an infectious beat.

Kris Kross were just a couple of kids…aged 12 and 13…when they released “Jump”. The record went to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1992, and Number 2 in the UK charts. They sold over 2 million copies of the single in the US, making it the third best-selling song of the year.

The songwriter and producer for “Jump” was Jermaine Dupri, who has since gone on to work with Usher, Destiny’s Child and Mariah Carey.

Because the song is built heavily around samples, there are 14 writers credited to “Jump” as a result of, apart from Jermaine Dupri, having written the original song which he sampled.

The use of samples hasn’t changed since the early days of rap, although the willingness of artists to properly credit the people whose samples they use is much better than it was.

What has changed since the early days of rap is the prevailing atmosphere of the industry.

Since the early 90s, rap has become a much darker place. Although that’s sometimes for artistic reasons to highlight injustice and support the oppressed, more often than not it’s just a gratuitous appeal to far too many of humanity’s lowest common denominators.

Rap music at its best can be phenomenal. These days it’s just not often at its best…but when it is, rap remains a force for good.

25 years ago rap could be a happy place, though. And that’s probably never been more comprehensively demonstrated than by the song that played over the stadium speakers at the weekend.

Get your headphones on…crank the volume up to 11…and prepare to let your enthusiasm get the better of you…

It’s “Jump” by Kris Kross…

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Without words, it’s just a nice tune. Add words — now you’ve got a song. And songs can change your world. I write about some that changed mine.

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