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Morning Song – No Diggity

May 26, 2017

There’s a lengthy and learned socio-anthropological tome to be written about the 16 year journey that took “No Diggity” from the streets of LA to the a capella “battles” of Hollywood…but not here and not now.

This little blog has just two observations to make:

  1. “No Diggity” is some sort of distant cousin to The Beatles’ “I Saw Her Standing There“. In both songs, the narrator—alternately shy and boastful, awed and aroused—is basically just watching a woman and (maybe) dancing with her.
  2. If Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” is the origin myth of rock and roll (it is), “No Diggity” at least contains within itself the origins of hip-hop: kids listening to and talking about their parents’ records, searching for that perfect moment—a funky drum break, a jazzy piano riff, pretty much anything by James Brown—and then through the alchemy of human creativity, making something new of it. The perfect moment “No Diggity” producer Teddy Riley found was Bill Withers’ opening “mm-hmm” from his 1971 single, “Grandma’s Hands“.

And yeah, it’s pretty much perfect.

I can’t get her out of my mind;
I think about the girl all the time;
East side to the west side…

I like the way you work it;
No diggity, I got to bag it up….


From → Music

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