Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Songoftheday 5/22/19 - When he went out with girls I could go taggin along, naggin if she had a sis maybe could mack a baby hoodrat...

"Back In The Day" - Ahmad
from the album Ahmad (1994)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #26 (three weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 12

Today's song of the day comes from rapper Ahmad Lewis, who grew up in Los Angeles, where he eventually launched his music career, recording under just his first name. Ahmad released his self-titled debut album in the spring of 1994, led by the single "Back In The Day". A nostalgic look back at his youth, the original album version of the track, which sampled the Staple Singers' "Let's Do It Again", didn't get as much attention as the remix, which was grounded by a swaying sample of Teddy Pendergrass' soul classic "Love TKO". It landed Ahmad his biggest and only success on the pop chart, making himself a true "one-hit wonder"...

"Back In The Day" became Ahmad's first and only top-40 pop hit in August of 1994. The song also climbed to #19 on the R&B chart in Billboard magazine. Internationally, the single was a minor hit in the UK at #64. A pretty enjoyable follow-up single, "You Gotta Be", went nowhere, sadly, and he stopped his solo career for a while. In 2000, he joined the alt-hip-hop group 4th Avenue Jones. With them he had a couple of minor R&B hits with "R.E.S.P.E.C.T." in 2001 (R&B #88) and "Move On" (R&B #86) a year later. However, through that he met his wife Tena Jones. In 2009 he independently released a second solo record, The Death Of Me.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Disco Dessert 5/21/19 - "Danger" from Gregg Diamond...

"Danger" was a club hit for disco producer Gregg Diamond. A native of the Philly suburb of Bryn Mawr, Diamond had been a band member for underground glam-rock icon Jobraith, and had previously worked with Luther Vandross. Appearing on the TK label as a stand-alone single, "Danger" climbed to #21 on Billboard magazine's Disco Top 100 in 1979. Diamond passed away from internal bleeding in 1999.

Songoftheday 5/21/19 - It's time to take your ass on another kind of trip, 'Cause you can't have the hop if you don't have the hip...

"Fantastic Voyage" - Coolio
from the album It Takes A Thief (1993)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #3 (five weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 21

Today's song of the day comes from rapper Artis Ivey Jr., who records under the moniker Coolio. Coolio started his music life on the gang-dominated streets of Compton, and his first success was being a part of the rap group WC and the MAAD Circle, recording their debut album Ain't A Damn Thing Changed, which was a minor R&B album hit. He left shortly thereafter to start a solo career. Signing to Tommy Boy Records, he released his debut album It Takes A Thief in 1993. The first single, "County Line", a comical look at the unemployment line, slipped on to the R&B chart in Billboard magazine for a week at #97, while it "bubbled under" the pop Hot 100 at #109. But his fortunes would skyrocket with his second release. "Fantastic Voyage", named for the 1980 funk classic by Lakeside that the record would heavily interpolate and sample, was an escape from the cruel streets, and with the bonus of being accessible on mainstream radio...

"Fantastic Voyage" became Coolio's first top-40 pop hit, reaching the top-three in July of 1994. The song climbed to #12 on Billboard's R&B chart. Internationally, the single peaked at #8 in New Zealand, and made the top-40 in Sweden (#29), the Netherlands (#31), Australia (#37). In England, it stopped just short of that mark at #41. Despite the big success of "Fantastic Voyage", Coolio had trouble following that up. His next single "I Remember", a laid back view of his youth built on an al Green sample, only got to #83 on the R&B chart, and "Bubbling under" the pop Hot 100 at #107. That was followed by "Mama I'm In Love With A Gangsta", which missed both the R&B and pop charts, "Bubbling under" the Hot 100 yet again at #119. But by the next year, he would regroup with the biggest hit of his career, courtesy of a Michelle Pfeiffer movie...

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Monday, May 20, 2019

Disco Dessert 5/20/19 - "Body Music" from the Strikers...

"Body Music" was a big club hit for the New York City-based funk group the Strikers. With lead singer Ruben Faison, who had worked with disco acts like Made In USA before, the song appeared on their sole album The Strikers. It climbed to #4 on the Disco Top 100 chart in Billboard magazine in 1981.

Robbed hit of the week 5/20/19 - Arrested Development's "Ease My Mind"...

"Ease My Mind" - Arrested Development
from the album Zingalamaduni (1994)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: 45

This week's "robbed hit" comes from the alternative hip-hop collective Arrested Development, whose debut album 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of... had been a massive success, scoring three top ten pop hits with "Tennessee", "People Everyday", and "Mr. Wendal". They also released a live record, MTV Unplugged, which reached a respectable #60 on Billboard magazine's albums sales Top 200 chart. In 1994, the group returned for their second studio album Zingalamaduni, trying to capitalize on that success. The first single "Ease My Mind" was released as a first single. Produced and written by group leader Speech, the song tried to expand on the sonics of the original, rolling on a smooth groove that differed from the soul that was on R&B radio at the time...

While "Ease My Mind" climbed to #14 on Billboard's R&B chart, the song stalled under the pop top-40 at #45 in  June of 1994. A second single, "United Front", was a minor R&B hit at #66 and missed the pop Hot 100 altogether. After that, the group split, with Speech going on to attempt a solo career, with single "Like Marvin Gaye Said (What's Going On)" rising to #59 on the R&B hit. And former group friend Dionne Farris, who had sung on "Tennessee", outshined all their work on her top ten solo it "I Know" in 1995. Speech reformed Arrested Development in 2000 and continues to perform under the moniker ever since.

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Songoftheday 5/20/19 - As you brush your shoes and stand before your mirror, and you comb your hair and grab your coat and hat...

"Wild Night" - John Mellencamp & Me'Shell Ndegeocello
from the album Dance Naked (1994)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #3 (two weeks)
Weeks in the Top-40: 33

Today's song of the day comes from the mainstream rocker from Indiana, John Mellencamp, whose first album of the 1990s, Whenever We Wanted, was his first since he hit big with American Fool in 1982 to not produce a top ten pop hit, though it did have a pair of moderate successes with "Get A Leg Up" and "Again Tonight", both of which were #1 rock radio hits. John's next record, Human Wheels, was released two years later and while it reached the top ten on the albums sales chart and had a #1 rock radio hit with "What If I Came Knocking", none of its tracks even hit the pop top-40 (the title track "Human Wheels" peaked at #48). With pressure from his record company to come up with something more palatable to the mainstream, Mellencamp went and recorded his next record, Dance Naked, in two weeks. The first single released from the album would be his first remake single, "Wild Night". Written by iconic Irish singer/songwriter Van Morrison, "Wild Night" originally appeared on his 1971 album Tupelo Honey. The track climbed to #28 on the American pop chart, and #20 in Canada...

For Mellencamp's version, he first made the song a duet, with an African-American bisexual neo-soul newcomer that had just gotten her career started. Me'Shell Ndegeocello (born Michelle Johnson as an American army brat in Berlin), who grew up in Washington DC, gigged with a few bands before going solo, releasing her first single "Dred Loc" in 1993. That song, the lead single from her debut album Plantation Lullabies, went to #86 on the R&B chart in Billboard magazine. But the second release from the set, "If That's Your Boyfriend (He Wasn't Last Night)", did much better, becoming her first top-40 R&B hit at #23, crossing over to the pop Hot 100 at #73, and making the Dance Club Play chart with its remixes at #20, all in the beginning of 1994. But with her striking almost bald head and ambisexual dress code, she was more of an underground taste of neo-soul lovers. That changed with their version of "Wild Night", which played of both of their respective strengths to transform Morrison's original into a totally new animal, riding on Meshell's prominent and fluid bassline...

Mellencamp's version of "Wild Night" connected with the public in a big way, becoming his biggest hit since 1986, and his most recent top ten pop hit in September of 1994. The song was massive on "easy listening" radio, spending two months (eight weeks) at #1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary formar chart, while also crossing over to the Mainstream Rock list at #17. Internationally, the single hit #1 for three weeks in Canada, and reached the top-40 in Australia (#18) and the UK (#34). John released the title track "Dance Naked" as the follow-up single, but despite the success of (or more likely because the overlong success of) "Wild Night", that original single stopped just short of the pop top-40 at #41 (though it did climb to #7 in Canada). "Dance Naked" also reached #21 on the Mainstream rock chart and #37 on the Adult Contempoary tally.

As for Me'Shell, "Wild Night" would be her biggest chart success, and her first and only top ten hit on the pop chart. She returned in 1996 with her sophomore effort, Peace Beyond Passion. The controversial lead single "Leviticus: Faggot" missed all the radio charts, but the remixes of the track helped it go to #15 on Billboard's Dance Club Play list. It was the most powerful thing she's ever released. But to help up sales of the album, she them put out another cover song, this time of Bill Withers' "Who Is He and What Is He To You", which was her second top-40 R&B hit at #34, while again the remixes helped it rise to #1 on the Dance Club Play chart. That same year, Me'Shell also guested on Chaka Khan's single "Never Miss The Water", which also topped the dance chart at was her most recent top-40 R&B single at #36. The Peace track "Stay" also hit the R&B list at #67, her most recent appearance there. In 2002, her song "Earth", from her fourth release Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape, climbed the dance chart to #29 with help from remixes from Ben Watt of Everything But The Girl. She has released several albums since then on various labels. Her most recent album, Ventriloquism (coincidentally an album of cover songs), earned her a Grammy nomination for Best Urban Contemporary album.

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Sunday, May 19, 2019

Disco Dessert 5/19/19 - "Sun After The Rain" from Silvetti...

"Sun After The Rain" was an underground classic from Argentine disco produer Bebu Silvetti. Appearing on his album Concert From The Stars, the song never reached the disco charts in Billboard magazine, but it was a favorite among DJs across the country nonetheless...

Songoftheday 5/19/19 - You know you drive me up the wall, the way you make good on all the nasty tricks you pull...

"Crazy" - Aerosmith
from the album Get A Grip (1993)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #17 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 16

Today's song of the day comes from blues-rock legends Aerosmith, whose Get A Grip album had already spun off three big pop hits with "Livin' On The Edge", "Cryin'" and "Amazing". A song they contributed to the soundtrack to the Beavis & Butthead movie, "Deuces Are Wild", climbed to #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart, but was never available for purchase other than the album. The fourth and final physical single released from the album was "Crazy", written by bandmates Steven Tyler and Joe Perry along with song doctor Desmond Child. The music video again featured Alicia Silverstone of Clueless...

"Crazy" became the fourth top-40 pop hit from Get A Grip in July of 1994. The song also climbed to #7 on the Mainstream Rock chart in Billboard magazine. Internationally, the song peaked at #3 in Canada, and was a top-40 hit in the UK (#23), the Netherlands (#28), and Switzerland (#28). "Crazy" would go on to win the Grammy Award for Rock Group Vocal Performance.

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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Disco Dessert 5/18/19 - "It's A War" from Kano...

"It's A War" was a big club hit for the Italian disco group Kano. Taken from their debut album Kano, the song was written and produced by Luciano Nenziatti, Stefano Pulga, and Bruno Gergonzi, with vocals from Rosanna Casale, Leila Esposito, and Piero Cairo. The single, listed with the B-side "Ahjia", spent five weeks at #2 on the Disco Top 100 chart in Billboard magazine.

Songoftheday 5/18/19 - You've done me wrong your time is up, you took a sip from the devil's cup...

"Moving On Up" - M People
from the album Elegant Slumming (1993)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #34 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 3

Today's song of the day comes from the British dance music act M People, who came together in the early 1990s when producers Mike Pickering and Paul Heard hired on singer Heather Small for a project named for Pickering as "Mike's People". In 1991, they scored their first British top-40 hit with "How Can I Love You More?", which served as the first single from their debut album Northern Soul. Originally climbing to #29 in 1991, after three more songs from the album reached the top-40, it was re-released and soared to #8 in 1993.

Later that summer, M People released their sophomore effort, Elegant Slumming. The first release from it, "One Night In Heaven", became their second top-ten British hit at #6. But it would be their second single from the record that would become the act's biggest hit at home and worldwide. "Moving On Up", written and produced by Pickering and Heard, was a bouncy and joyous house music jam that was much more positive for radio yet still soulful enough to claim the clubs...

"Moving On Up" became M People's first and only charting pop hit in June of 1994. The song topped the Dance Club Play chart in Billboard magazine for two weeks as well. Internationally, the single was there biggest British hit, peaking at #2, while also hitting the top ten in France (#3), Australia (#4), Ireland (#4), New Zealand (#4), and Finland (#6). It also reached the top-40 in the Netherlands (#11), Belgium (#17), Austria (#17), Switzerland (#19), Sweden (#20), Germany (#21), Canada (#23), and Iceland (#34).

In the States, "One Night In Heaven" was released as a followup, and while it also topped the American dance chart for two weeks, it missed the pop Hot 100, "Bubbling" under at #125. Also in the U.S., the Northern Soul single "Excited" was released as a single, making it three US dance #1s in a row. Meanwhile overseas, the band landed two more top ten hits in the UK with a remake of the Dennis Edwards 80s hit "Don't Look Any Further" (UK #9) and "Renaissance" (UK #5). Lastly, Elegant Slumming's fifth single in Britain, "Elegantly American", which was just a remix release of "One Night In Heaven" and "Moving On Up", popped on the top-40 at #31.

In 1995, M People returned with a third album, Bizarre Fruit. The lead single "Open Your Heart" topped the American dance chart for a week, and "Bubbled under" the pop Hot 100 at #125 (again). In the UK, after their first single "Sight For Sore Eyes" climbed to #6, that former single made it to #9, as well as a third top ten success with "Search For The Hero" (UK #9). Two years later, their fourth and so far final studio album Fresco arrived, scoring a pair of British top ten hits with "Just For You" and "Angel St." (both UK #8). The act released a hits set called The Best Of M People in 1998, which had three new songs on it. One of them, "Testify", hit #12 in the UK, and climbed to #5 on the American dance chart.

As the new millennium arrive, M People took a break from recording, with Small releasing her debut solo album Proud in 2000. The LGBT pride anthem title track "Proud" went to #16 on the British chart and eventually was used heavily in the promotion of the 2012 Olympics in London. She also had a British top-40 hit that same year with her collaboration with Tom Jones on his Reload album, "You Need Love Like I Do" (UK #24). She also put out a second album, Close To A Miracle, which reached the albums chart in Britain (UK Albums #57). However she never broke ties with Pickering and Heard, and they have been touring as M People since 2007.

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Friday, May 17, 2019

Disco Dessert 5/17/19 - "I'll Be Holding On" from Al Downing...

"I'll Be Holding On" with an early disco hit for rockabilly country singer Al Downing. A piano player who had a minor pop hit in 1963 with "You Never Miss Your Water" with Esther Phillips, this disco crossover was written by Downing with Lance Quinn and Andrew Smith, and produced by Meco Monardi and Tony BonGiovi (cousin to Jon and founder of the Power Station studio). It topped the Disco Action chart in Billboard magazine for three weeks in 1974, spending 21 weeks on the chart, courtesy of a remix by Tom Moulton. The song also went to #31 on the R&B chart and #85 on Billboard's Hot 100 pop list. Downing would go on to have a string of country hits in the 1980s.

twostepcub's music chart for May 17, 2019...

Friday's here, and it's time to run down my top 100 "hit" tunes from the week. Sam Smith & former Fifth Harmony member Normani climb to #1, while the Jonas Brothers (pictured above) scale three spots in the top ten. Songs from Lauv/Troye Sivan, Catfish & The Bottlemen, and Marshmello/CHVRCHES make the biggest jumps (moves of 10+ places highlighted in red). Happy Eurovision weekend!

This Week             Song/Artist (last week's position in parentheses)
1. Dancing With A Stranger - Sam Smith & Normani (2)
2. Lo/Hi - Black Keys (4)
3. Ready To Let Go - Cage The Elephant (1)
4. Sweet But Psycho - Ava Max (3)
5. Close To Me - Ellie Goulding & Diplo f/Swae Lee (5)
6. Sucker - Jonas Brothers (9)
7. Without Me - Halsey (6)
8. Hey Look Ma, I Made It - Panic At The Disco (16)
9. Trampoline - SHAED (10)
10. Walk Me Home - Pink (11)
11. Beautiful Crazy - Luke Combs (7)
12. Bad Liar - Imagine Dragons (8)
13. Make It Sweet - Old Dominion (13)
14. Someone You Loved - Lewis Capaldi (18)
15. Eastside - Benny Blanco f/Halsey & Khalid (12)
16. Chlorine - twenty-one pilots (21)
17. High Hopes - Panic At The Disco (15)
18. Harmony Hall - Vampire Weekend (14)
19. One Less Day (Dying Young) - Rob Thomas (23)
20. Here Tonight - Brett Young (20)
21. Giant - Calvin Harris f/Rag N' Bone Man (17)
22. Eyes On You - Chase Rice (26)
23. Please Me - Cardi B & Bruno Mars (19)
24. Miss Me More - Kelsea Ballerini (29)
25. Don't Feel Like Crying - Sigrid (27)
26. 7 Rings - Ariana Grande (22)
27. Just You & Me - Tom Walker (37)
28. All The Ways - Meghan Trainor (28)
29. Bury A Friend - Billie Eilish (41)
30. Night Shift - Jon Pardi (34)
31. Movement - Hozier (24)
32. I've Been Waiting - Lil Peep & ILoveMakonnen f/Fall Out Boy (42)
33. Power Over Me - Dermot Kennedy (35)
34. Shallow - Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper (30)
35. So Close - NOTD & Felix Jaehn f/Georgia Ku & Captain Cuts (25)
36. Happier - Marshmello & Bastille (31)
37. Love Ain't - The Eli Young Band (47)
38. Sue Me - Sabrina Carpenter (38)
39. The Boss 2019 - Diana Ross (39)
40. On My Way To You - Cody Johnson (48)
41. Missed Connection - The Head and the Heart (51)
42. Speechless - Dan + Shay (44)
43. Dirty - Tank (43)
44. Be Alright - Dean Lewis (32)
45. Favorite Song - Audien & Echosmith (46)
46. One That Got Away - Michael Ray (36)
47. Longshot - Catfish & The Bottlemen (69)
48. Don't Give Up On Me - Andy Grammer (56)
49. Good As You - Kane Brown (53)
50. Moderation - Florence + The Machine (54)
51. Love Someone - Brett Eldredge (66)
52. Here With Me - Marshmello & CHVRCHES (68)
53. Fire In The Soul - Oliver Heldens f/Shungudzo (67)
54. Fired Up - Jade Starling (62)
55. You're Sorry - Todd Edwards (63)
56. ME! - Taylor Swift f/Brandon Urie (DEBUT)
57. Bassa Sababa - Netta (61)
58. Don't Call Me Up - Mabel (55)
59. I'm So Tired - Lauv & Troye Sivan (63)
60. Gam Gam - DJ From Mars (40)
61. A Reason To Fight - Disturbed (49)
62. There Was This Girl - Riley Green (50)
63. This Is It - Scotty McCreery (59)
64. Piece Of Your Heart - Meduza f/Goodboys (74)
65. Karma - Queen Naija (65)
66. No Place - Backstreet Boys (52)
67. Beloved - Mumford & Sons (77)
68. Best Shot - Jimmie Allen (58)
69. You're My Life - Low Steppa (84)
70. Could've Been - H.E.R. f/Bryson Tiller (71)
71. Shotgun - George Ezra (86)
72. Put Your Phone Down (Low) - Jack Back (82)
73. Right Left Wrong - Three Days Grace (75)
74. Broken & Beautiful - Kelly Clarkson (88)
75. Peer Pressure - James Bay f/Julia Michaels (76)
76. Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I'm Bored - Ariana Grande (80)
77. Be Legendary - Pop Evil (79)
78. Overexcited - Guster (78)
79. Bad Guy - Billie Eilish (93)
80. Look What God Gave Her - Thomas Rhett (85)
81. Girl Like You - Jason Aldean (81)
82. Gloria - The Lumineers (92)
83. Heroin - Badflower (87)
84. 365 - Zedd & Katy Perry (70)
85. Whiskey Glasses - Morgan Wallen (90)
86. Rumor - Lee Brice (96)
87. Girl - Maren Morris (DEBUT)
88. Rhythm Of The Night - Sean Finn & Corona (DEBUT)
89. Last Hurrah - Bebe Rexha (91)
90. Back To Life - Hilary Roberts (98)
91. Concrete Heart - Vassy (DEBUT)
92. Boomerang - Keith Sweat f/Candace Price (72)
93. Get Up - Shinedown (97)
94. I'm Not Defeated - Fiorious (94)
95. Red Bull & Hennessey - Jenny Lewis (99)
96. Hurt - Oliver Tree (DEBUT)
97. Bones - Galantis f/OneRepublic (DEBUT)
98. Cool - Jonas Brothers (DEBUT)
99. No Sleep - Martin Garrix f/Bonn (DEBUT)
100. All Day & Night - Jax Jones & Martin Solveig as Europa f/Madison Beer (DEBUT)

There are nine songs making their debut on my chart this week (highlighted in blue), and if you click on any of them, you'll connect to their official website for more information. And here they are on video, after the break...

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Songoftheday 5/17/19 - We used to talk and laugh all night girl, what happened to those days did they all just fade away...

"I Miss You" - Aaron Hall
from the album The Truth (1993)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #14 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 15

Today's song of the day comes from R&B singer Aaron Hall, who had been a member of the new jack swing group Guy since the late 1980s. He released his first solo single in 1992; it was a song for the soundtrack to the movie Juice. "Don't Be Afraid" went to #1 on Billboard's R&B chart, but stopped short of the top-40 at #44. In 1993, he released his for full-length album The Truth. The uptempo lead single "Get A Little Freaky With Me" stalled under the R&B top-40 at #48, and didn't reach the pop chart at all (although it did hit the British singles chart at #66). He did better with his second release, the slow jam "Let's Make Love", which made the top-40 level at #36 while "bubbling under" the pop Hot 100 at #113. The third single would be the ballad "I Miss You", written by Aaron Hall and Gregory Cauthen. The smooth song would end up being his biggest pop success...

"I Miss You" became Aaron's first and biggest pop top-40 hit in August of 1994. The song also spent three weeks at #2 on Billboard's R&B chart. A fourth single from The Truth, "When You Need Me", climbed to #30 on the R&B chart and "bubbled under" Billboard's pop Hot 100 at #104.

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Thursday, May 16, 2019

Disco Dessert 5/16/19 - "Love Is Here" from Cerrone...

"Love Is Here" was a big club hit for French disco legend Marc Cerrone. Appearing on his third album Supernature, the song was written by Cerrone with Alain Wisniak. The album charted as one piece with "Supernature", "Give Me Love" and this song listed as the main dancefloor tracks. Supernature spent four weeks at #1 on Billboard magazine's National Disco Action Top-40 chart in 1977.

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Songoftheday 5/16/19 - I'm hittin switches like eric on the solo creep, for yo jeep it's the b.R.A.T...

"Funkdafied" - Da Brat
from the album Funkdafied (1994)
Billboard Hot 100 peak: #6 (one week)
Weeks in the Top-40: 17

Today's song of the week comes from rapper Shawntae Harris, who records under the moniker Da Brat. She grew up in Chicago, where she won a talent contest that led her to get paired with producer Jermaine Dupri. Signed to his So So Def label, he helmed her debut project Funkdafied. The title track, written by the pair overlaid on a sample of the Isley Brothers' "Between The Sheets", the record became her first and biggest hit...

"Funkdafied" became Da Brat's first top-40 hit and sole solo single to reach the top ten in August of 1994. The song also spent three weeks at #2 on Billboard magazine's R&B chart. Internationally, the track climbed to #17 in New Zealand, and was a minor hit in France at #42 and in the UK at #65.

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