Day 352: Here Comes The Hotstepper

Song: “Here Comes The Hotstepper” by Ini Kamoze
Reached #1: December 17, 1994 (his first, 2 weeks)

Enter the lyrical gangsta…

So the first question is, of course, what is an “Ini Kamoze”?

The answer is: Jamaican reggae/hip-hop singer and one-hit wonder.  Well, at least on the Billboard charts – he’s got a lot of hits at home in Jamaica.

The second question is, what is a hotstepper?

That’s Jamaican lingo for a man on the run from the law, although Kamoze seems to be using it as a name for a dancer.  Kamoze would go on to call himself The Hotstepper after this song broke out… was he telling us something?

And the third question is, what’s with the “na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na” (I think I counted right)?

It’s a reference to “Land of 1000 Dances”, in which those lyrics don’t actually appear – OK, not in the original 1962 version at least.

“Land of 1000 Dances” had regular lyrics in its original incarnation, and first couple of covers.   In 1965, Cannibal & The Headhunters covered the song, but Cannibal (Frankie Garcia) forgot the lyrics in the recording session… he vamped the “na na na (etc.)” to fill space, and the new “lyric” became a part of the song.  Wilson Pickett decided to keep the “na na na (etc.)” in the song when he released his hit cover in 1966.

Pickett’s song hit #6 in 1966.  The song inspired by it hit #1 in 1994.  Go figure.

And for some of us, “Hotstepper” has nothing to do with reggae, it’s the song that helped propel two middle-aged white guys into wrestling success as the Public Enemy.  Again, go figure.

Tomorrow, a woman whose career has exploded like the title of her #1…

No other songs reached #1 on December 17.


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