Underappreciated: A Lighter Shade Of Brown's "Hey DJ"

I didn't get the chance to do this last Friday like I normally like to, but I wanted to dedicated this week's "underappreciated gem" to a rap duo (and, specifically, a song from that group I absolutely love).


Earlier this month, the sad news hit that Lighter Shade of Brown  rapper DTTX (short for Don't Try To Xerox, real name Bobby Ramirez) passed away.

I always had a fond appreciation for LSOB, not just because they were pretty much the only Mexican rappers who got airplay, or just because they originated from Riverside, California.

No, I just had an appreciation for their style that always seemed to have crossover appeal in mind. In many ways their integration of old school records with a new school style was ahead of their time. They knew the importance of a party record with a hook. And in many ways the duo is best exemplified in this song, a throwback (before doing throwbacks were cool) entitled Hey DJ.

The song is, itself, a re-imagining of The World Famous Supreme Team's Hey DJ . It's lyrics are light, but the vibe and instincts to repurpose the song were right on the money. The Mexican rap duo found an audience that propelled the song to #43 on the Billboard Hot 100.

However, the re-imagining would later find more validation in the form of Mariah Carey,  who would later take the street cred and commercial appeal found from this version and literally just slap a few trite lyrics along with some production from Diddy  (who handled the remix production duties and has never met a trend he hasn't wanted to copy) to a number one slot on the Billboard Hot 100.

It was Mariah's announcement that she was now free from her manager-husband Tommy Mottola and was now free to make the music she had always wanted to make, but make no mistake, in pop music very few departures in sound that aren't meticulously calculated, especially from the number one selling music artist of that decade.

So while we can go on and on about the instincts to repurpose a song (both have The World Famous Dream Team to thank), I'll always have an appreciation for LSOB's interpolation of the song and the breezy, mid-90s brand of airplay associated with it.