While hip-hop was consumed by the hardcore, noisy political rap of Public Enemy and the gangsta rap of N.W.A., Digital Underground sneaked out of Oakland with their bizarre, funky homage to Parliament-Funkadelic. Digital Underground built most of their music from P-Funk samples and developed a similarly weird sense of style and humor, highlighted by Shock-G's outrageous costumes and the whole band's parade of alter egos. Of all these alter egos, Shock-G's Humpty Hump — a ridiculous comical figure with a Groucho Marx nose and glasses and a goofy, stuttering voice — was the most famous, especially since he was immortalized on their breakthrough single, "The Humpty Dance." Over the course of their career, Digital Underground have featured a numerous members, but throughout it all, Shock-G has remained at their core, developing the band's sound and style, which they had from the outset, as their 1990 debut, Sex Packets, proved. Sex Packets was an instant hit, thanks the loopy single "The Humpty Dance," and while they never scaled such commercial heights ever again, their role in popularizing George Clinton's elastic funk made them one of the most important hip-hop groups of their era.
Shock-G (born Gregory E. Jacobs, August 25, 1963) spent most of his childhood moving around the East Coast with his family, eventually settling in the Bay Area of California. He dropped out of high school in the late '70s and spent several years pursuing a life of crime before eventually finishing his degree and going to college to study music. Along with Chopmaster J, Shock-G formed Digital Underground in 1987, and the duo released a single, "Underwater Rimes," that year, which went to number one in the Netherlands. In 1989, the group signed with Tommy Boy, and that summer "Doowutchyalike" became an underground hit. By that time, Digital Underground had expanded significantly, featuring DJ Fuze, Money-B (born Ron Brooks), and Schmoovy-Schmoov (born Earl Cook). Sex Packets, the group's debut album, was released in the spring of 1990, and "The Humpty Dance," which was rapped by Shock-G's alter ego Humpty Hump, climbed all the way to number 11 on the pop charts, peaking at number seven on the R&B charts. With its P-Funk samples, jazzy interludes, and innovative amalgam of samples and live instrumentation, Sex Packets received positive reviews and went platinum by the end of the year.
Digital Underground followed Sex Packets in early 1991 with This Is an EP Release, their first recording to feature rapper Tupac Shakur. The EP went gold and set the stage for their second album, Sons of the P, which was released that fall. On the strength of the gold single "Kiss You Back," Sons of the P also went gold, but it received criticism for its similarity to Sex Packets. By the time Digital Underground delivered their third album, The Body-Hat Syndrome in late 1993, hip-hop had become dominated by gangsta rap, particularly the drawling G-funk of Dr. Dre, which ironically was heavily indebted to Clinton. Consequently, their fan base diminished significantly, and The Body-Hat Syndrome disappeared shortly after its release. Nearly three years later, Digital Underground returned with Future Rhythm, which spent a mere three weeks on the charts. Who Got the Gravy? followed in 1998.
While hip-hop was consumed by the hardcore, noisy political rap of Public Enemy and the gangsta rap of N.W.A., Digital Underground sneaked out of Oakland with their bizarre, funky homage to Parliament-Funkadelic. Digital Underground built most of their music from P-Funk samples and developed a similarly weird sense of style and humor, highlighted by Shock-G's outrageous costumes and the whole band's parade of alter egos.
Of all these alter egos, Shock-G's Humpty Hump -- a ridiculous comical figure with a Groucho Marx nose and glasses and a goofy, stuttering voice -- was the most famous, especially since he was immortalized on their breakthrough single, "The Humpty Dance."
Aa'it stop whatcha doin' cause I'm about to ruin the image and the style
that ya used to. I look funny, but yo I'm makin' money so listen up
world I hope you're ready for me. Now gather round, I'm the new fool in
town and my sound's laid down by tha Underground. I drink up all the
Hennessee ya got on ya shelf so just let me introduce myself. My name
is Humpty, pronounced with an umpty. Oh ladies oh how I like to
frumpty, and to the rappers in the top ten, please allow me to bumpty.
I'm steppin' tall y'all and just like Humpty Dumpty you're gonna fall
when the stereos pump me. I like to rhyme I like my beef funky. I'm
spunky. I like my oatmeal lumpy.
I'm sick with this. Straight gangsta mack. But sometimes I get
ridiculous. I eat up all tha crackers and tha licorace. Hey yo fat
girl commere are ya ticklish? Yeah, I called ya fat, look at me I'm
skinny. It never stopped me from gettin' busy. I'm a freak. I like
the girls with the boom. I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom.
I'm crazy. Allow me to amaze thee. They say I'm ugly but it just don't
faze me. I'm still gettin' in tha girls pants and I even got my own
The Humpty Dance is your chance to do tha hump. Ohh do me baby. Do the
Humpty Hump. Ohh ohh do me baby. Do the Humpty Hump. Do ya know what
were doin'? Were doin' the Humpty Hump yall. Watch me do the Humpty
Hump. Just keep on doin' tha Hump.
People say "yo, Humpty you're really funny lookin'" That's aaiit 'cause
my body's in motion. You stare, you glare, you try to compare me, but
ya can't get near me. I'm on the floor, bein' at the bars and see all
the ladies adore me. Oh yes ladies I'm really bein' sincere 'cause in
the 69 my Humpty nose will tickle your rear. My nose is big. Uh uh I'm
not ashamed, big like a pickle, I'm still gettin' paid. I'm gettin'
laid by the ladies, you know I'm in charge. Note how I'm livin' and my
nose is large. I get stupid. I shoot an arrow like cupid. I use a
word that don't mean nuttin' like loopded. I sang in Dowhatchalike and
if ya missed it. I'm the one that said "just grab 'em in tha biskets".
I also told you that I like to bite well yeah, I guess that's obvious I
also like to write. All ya have ta do is give Humpty a chance and now
I'm gonna do my dance.
Oh yeah, that's the breaks. Let me get a little of this base groove
right here. A dooreaar dooreah dooreaar dooreah. Ah yeah, now I told
y'all a little about myself, lemme tell y'all a little about this dance.
It's real easy to do, check it out. First I limp to tha sounds like my
legs is broken, shakin' and twitchen' kinda like I was smokin' crazy
whack funky. People say you look like MC Hammer on crack Humpty.
That's aaiit 'cause my body's in motion. It's supposed to look like a
fit or a commotion. Anyone can play this game. It's my dance y'all
Humpty Hump's my name. No two people will do it the same, ya got it
down, when you appear to be in pain. Humpin' funkin' jumpin' gig around
shakin' your rump and when a dude or chump ups and points a finger like
a stump you tell him to step off I'm doin' the hump.
(add Puerto Ricans do the Humpty Hump)
(add Samoans do the Humpty Hump)
Let's get stupid (gimme the music, do the Humpty Hump)
And to all the ladies, peace and Humptiness forever.