Ini Kamoze "Here Comes the Hotstepper" (1994)
Album: Lyrical Gangster
Nah, na na na nah. Na na na nah, na na nahhhh...okay, fine. Anyone who calls himself a "lyrical gangster" basically just admitted to being a studio thug and shouldn't be taken seriously. But in the dancehall world, Ini Kamoze was well-respected way before he topped the US charts. He had a couple of classics under his belt like "World a Music (Out In The Streets They Call It Merther)" (you'll recognize his voice being sampled on Damian Marley's "Welcome To Jamrock") as well as the original "Hot Stepper." However, the better known "Here Comes The Hotstepper" was produced by frequent Nas collaborator Salaam Remi and sampled a variety of records including Slick Rick's "La Di Da Di" and Isaac Hayes' "Hung Up on My Baby," becoming an unexpected crossover victory for the veteran artist.
The song also became a staple of fashion shows in the '90s after being used in the poorly received Robert Altman film about the fashion industry, Prêt-à-Porter (which translates to Ready To Wear). The appeal to the record is probably rooted in its breakbeat rhythm. And even though what Kamoze was singing about was a mystery to us (Seriously, who's Rico?) and despite his penchant for cheesy phrases better suited for TGIF sitcoms ("Ch-ch-chang-chang!") we forgave him because his voice had a familiar ring to it, like an uncle who visited too often. Sadly, Kamoze never scored any American hits after this one and is essentially remembered as a one-hit wonder. There goes that hot stepper. -Insanul Ahmed