No Diggity

"No Diggity" is a 1996 song released by American R&B group Blackstreet as the first single for their second studio album Another Level featuring Dr. Dre and Queen Pen. The song reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and in New Zealand, and number nine in the United Kingdom. "No Diggity" ended "Macarena"'s 14-week reign atop the Billboard Hot 100. It ranked at number 91 on Rolling Stone and MTV: 100 Greatest Pop Songs. It sold 1.6 million copies in 1996, and won the 1998 Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and was nominated for Grammy Award for Best R&B Song. It ranked at #32 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the '90s, #407 on Q Magazine's 1001 Best Songs Ever,[2] #33 on Blender's Greatest Songs Since You Were Born in 2005[3] and #43 on NME's 100 Best Songs Of The 1990s.[4] In the United Kingdom, the song climbed back into the top forty of the UK Singles Chart in March 2013, peaking at number thirty-eight 16 years after its original release there. It was the final Cash Box #1 hit.

"No Diggity"
No Diggity.jpg
Single by Blackstreet featuring Dr. Dre and Queen Pen
from the album Another Level
ReleasedJuly 29, 1996[1]
Recorded
  • 1996
  • 2010 (re-recorded)
Genre
Length
  • 5:03
  • 4:27 (music video)
LabelInterscope
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
Blackstreet singles chronology
"Tonight's the Night"
(1995)
"No Diggity"
(1996)
"(Money Can't) Buy Me Love"
(1997)
Music video
"No Diggity" on YouTube
Dr. Dre singles chronology
"California Love"
(1995)
"No Diggity"
(1996)
"Been There, Done That"
(1996)

BackgroundEdit

Co-producer Teddy Riley originally offered the song to Guy as part of their short-lived reunion in 1996. After failing to record any material, he then suggested the song to Guy's lead singer Aaron Hall, who refused to take part in recording the song.[5] He then offered the song to his other group Blackstreet. In a 2010 interview, Riley revealed the song was initially a hard sell among group members. He stated:

"None of the guys liked 'No Diggity'. None of them. They would even say it. That's why I'm singing the first verse. You know how they say they pushed the little one out there to see if it tastes good and see if he would get egged? Well they pushed me out there – and it became a hit. And now they wish they were singing the first verse, so that they can have the notoriety like me. So they trust what I'm saying..."[6]

While credited to Teddy Riley, the musical backing is actually an incognito production by Dr. Dre, who was in the process of extricating himself from his label Death Row Records.[citation needed] The beat to "No Diggity" was initially offered to rapper 2Pac for his Death Row debut All Eyez On Me by label boss Suge Knight, but with Dre leaving the label he sold the beat to Teddy Riley. Upon the release of the finished recording by Blackstreet, Tupac and Death Row responded with a diss track containing numerous insults aimed at Dr. Dre over an instrumental sampling "No Diggity", but were forced to replace the production after Blackstreet issued the label with a cease and desist order stopping them from distributing the song.[7] An updated version of this response, "Toss It Up", would be released under his Makaveli alias just days after his death, featuring, ironically, Aaron Hall.

ContentEdit

In between Blackstreet's sung verses there are rap verses performed by Dre, Teddy Riley and Queen Pen. There is a radio version that excludes both rappers and features Blackstreet only, tailor-made for airplay on Adult R&B stations.[citation needed]

The song's musical backing track is an altered sample from the beginning of "Grandma's Hands" by R&B singer Bill Withers.[8][9]

Critical receptionEdit

Bill Lamb from About.com said that the song is "the peak of the work" created by Teddy Riley. He noted that he is "a key architect of new jack swing. "No Diggity" is that genre fully refined."[10] James Bernard from Entertainment Weekly wrote that "beatwise, it struts confidently, accompanied by a light keyboard action. Voices, including guest Dr. Dre's, croon and rap with a sexual urgency notable even by today's standards."[11] Tom Ewing of Freaky Trigger noted that the song "is first of all capitalism in its slinkiest form, in every sense classy. A hymn to money, sex, upward mobility, “No Diggity” triumphs over every other swingbeat anthem because it walks it so much like it talks it."[12] Knight Ridder described the song as a "uptempo excursion" and a "pointed, post-hiphop strut".[13] New Straits Times stated that "sampling Bill Withers's bluesy Grandma's Hands and fitting it with a swingbeat base, the song is instantly transformed into a hip-hop masterpiece of unimaginable brilliance."[14] Jon Pareles from New York Times added that the track "uses a spiky Bill Withers guitar lick and a rap by Dr. Dre promising that listeners will be "giving up eargasms with my mellow waxin'."[15] NME called it "such a classy concoction of urban swagger and classic R&B".[16] People Magazine said that "by combining R&B vocals with hip hop's aggressive beats", "that powerful one-two punch flavors "No Diggity", which takes a nasty Delta blues riff and marries it to lip-smacking lasciviousness. The result is an instant, five-minute pop classic."[17] In 2012, Porcys listed the song at number 80 in their ranking of "100 Singles 1990-1999", noting that it "probably [is] Riley's most perfect pop moment."[18] Michael A. Gonzales for Vibe noted that "with a mellow D-Funk rap intro from Dr. Dre, this track pumps like a Lexus roaring down 125th Street as the Harlem neighborhood hotties look on with glee. "I can't get her outta my mind / I think about the girl all the time", Teddy whines about his object of desire, over haunting keyboards and astonishingly bouncy, minimalist production."[19]

Music videoEdit

The video is directed by Hype Williams[20] and features Blackstreet members in front of a beachhouse standing in the sand, dancers in a wet road surrounded by black limousines, and a marionette playing the piano sample in a club. It was nominated for Best R&B Video and Best Rap Video on 1997's MTV Video Music Awards.[citation needed]

Australian CD singleEdit

  1. "No Diggity" (LP version)
  2. "No Diggity" (clean version)
  3. "No Diggity" (Billie Jean Remix)
  4. "No Diggity" (All Star Remix)
  5. "No Diggity" *(Instrumental)

VersionsEdit

  • A1 "Billie Jean" (Remix) – 5:38
    • Producer: Blackstreet, Teddy Riley
  • A2 "Billie Jean" (Instrumental) – 5:38
    • Producer: Blackstreet, Teddy Riley
  • A3 "No Diggity" ("Will" Remix) – 4:26
    • Producer: Teddy Riley, William "Skylz" Stewart
  • B1 "No Diggity" ("All-Star" Remix) – 4:44
    • Producer: Allstar
  • B2 "No Diggity" ("All-Star" Remix Instrumental) – 4:44
    • Producer: Allstar
  • B3 "No Diggity" (a cappella) – 4:42
    • Producer: Teddy Riley, William "Skylz" Stewart
  • Rx1 "No Diggity" (Bondax Remix) – 3:36
    • Producers: George Townsend and Adam Kaye

PersonnelEdit

Published by Donrill Music/Zomba Enterprises, Inc. (ASCAP/Chauncey Black Music for Smokin' Sounds [ASCAP]/Queenpen Music (ASCAP)/Sidi Music (BMI)/Sony Songs Inc./Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But Fuckin' (ASCAP).

Track was mixed by Serban Ghenea and recorded by George Mayers, John Hanes, Sean Poland and Chris Johnson for Future Recording Studios, Virginia Beach, VA. Track mastered by Herb Powers at Hit Factory, New York, NY.

Queen Pen appears courtesy of Funky Mama Productions/Interscope Records. Dr. Dre appears courtesy of Aftermath Entertainment.

Track contains portions of "Grandma's Hands" written by Bill Withers and published by Interior Music Corp./Avant Garde Music Publishing, Inc. performed by Bill Withers, used courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment.

All-Star Remix contains a sample of "As Long As I've Got You", written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter and performed by The Charmels. Will Remix contains a mimic of "Cell Therapy", written by Barnett, Burton, Gipp and Knighton and performed by Goodie Mob.

Charts and certificationsEdit

CertificationsEdit

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[71] Gold 35,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[65] Platinum 10,000*
Norway (IFPI Norway)[72] Gold 5,000*
Sweden (GLF)[73] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[74] 2× Platinum 1,200,000 
United States (RIAA)[70] Platinum 1,600,000[75]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
 sales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Cover versionsEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit