The Black Eyed Peas emcee remembers Ice Cube's 1990 lyrics belittling Hip Hop dancers and talks about Tupac's early days as a dancer for Digital Underground.
Speaking to a turning point in the way that Hip Hop dancing was perceived, Taboo referenced Ice Cube’s disparaging lyrics towards dancing in his 1990 hit “Jackin’ For Beats.” “I was a big Cube fan, I loved Ice Cube,” Taboo said, “but as a dancer, we took it kind of personal, we were kind of scared, ‘cause Cube was hard. He said, ‘I leave the dancing to the brothers with the funny haircuts.’” The original lyrics that Taboo referenced come in the second verse of the Kill at Will track when he raps “I don’t party and shake my butt / I leave that to the brothers with the funny haircuts.”
Continuing with a separate example of Cube’s comments towards dancers, Taboo also mentioned the West Coast emcee’s “The Nigga Ya Love To Hate” song, pulled from a separate album, AmeriKKK’a Most Wanted, released the same year. “Then he said, ‘I don’t wanna see no more dancing, I’m sick of that shit!’ Taboo said, “so everybody’s like, ‘oh shit, Ice Cube’s sick of us dancing.’
The Black Eyed Peas emcee added that the popularity of another West Coast Hip Hop performer in MC Hammer built on the partial demise of dancing within the culture. “Then Hammer came in, then it got it a little corny” he said. “It started getting cheesy, it started becoming really cartoony, ‘cause Hammer was dope when he first came out. But then it got to the point where the music switched and it was no longer about having a good time, it was not about that. Now it was like, ‘I’m hard, my money, my bitches, the car I’m driving, the Moet I’m drinking,’ it became a little more about a party scene but no more dancing. Now I’m gonna sit in the VIP section, smoke blunts, pop bottles, and just chill, fuck dancing, I’m gonna just do my two-step over here. So it switched, which is cool, but Hip Hop culture started shifting into something else. And then, it became about no more dancing.”
Taboo also spoke about the history of dancing within the career of Tupac. “You know who’s a pretty dope dancer though?” he said, “[he] was a dancer before he was an emcee, Tupac. Tupac was a dope ass dancer for people that don’t know, before he was ‘Thug Life’ and before he did Juice, Tupac was dancing for Digital Underground and before that he was in school—like Juilliard type school—with Jada Pinkett. So he was like a classical type of dancer.”
The Los Angeles native finished with an acknowledgement that despite its lack of popularity in the mainstream, he continues to dance when performing. “I miss it, I still do it in my shows ‘cause I can still rock. I don’t care because I know that my style of dance is like a freestyle battle type of dance, I’m not on some like One Direction type of shit.”
Video of the VladTV interview can be streamed below.