Us3 is a British jazz rap group founded in London in 1992. Their name was inspired by a Horace Parlan album, titled Us Three, produced by Alfred Lion, the founder of Blue Note Records.[1] On their debut album, Hand on the Torch, Us3 exclusively used samples from the Blue Note Records catalogue, all originally produced by Lion.

Us3
OriginLondon, England
Years active1992–present
LabelsBlue Note
Us3
MembersGeoff Wilkinson
Past membersMel Simpson (1993–95)
plus vocalists:
Rahsaan Kelly (1993–95)
Kobie Powell (1993–95)
Tukka Yoot (1993–95, 2013)
KCB (1996–99, 2013)
Shabaam Sahdeeq (1996–99)
Michelob (1999–2001)
Alison Crockett (1999–2002)
Reggi Wyns (2003–05)
Mpho Skeef (2003–05)
Akil Dasan (2005–07, 2013)
Gaston (2005–07)
Adeline (2007)
Brook Yung (2009)
Sene (2009)
Oveous Maximus (2011)
Akala (2011)
WebsiteUs3.com

HistoryEdit

Us3 was created by London-based producer Geoff Wilkinson.[2] Formed in 1992 alongside production partner Mel Simpson, Us3 had two previous incarnations.[2] The first, a limited edition white label 12" release in 1990 called "Where Will We Be in the 21st Century". The release garnered the attention of independent label Ninja Tune, resulting in NW1's 1991 12" "The Band Played The Boogie", featuring UK rapper Born 2 B.[2] It sampled a dancefloor tune of the burgeoning jazz dance scene, Grant Green's "Sookie Sookie", originally released on Blue Note Records.

London's Kiss FM added "The Band Played The Boogie" to its playlist and Wilkinson then received a call summoning him to EMI Records's offices in London.[citation needed] Wilkinson avoided a lawsuit and was granted rights to the archives of Blue Note Records.[2] One of the resulting demos, recorded in March 1992, was "Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)", featuring UK trumpeter Gerard Presencer.[2] It sampled Herbie Hancock's "Cantaloupe Island".[2] Two years later, it entered the US top ten and was included on Hand on the Torch, the first Blue Note album to achieve platinum status (1,000,000 sales) in the US.[citation needed]

More touring followed, but personnel changes within Blue Note's owner, Capitol Records, allowed Wilkinson to leave and sign to Sony, working with the A&R executive that initially signed him in 1992.[citation needed]. Blue Note samples were not included and two new vocalists joined the group: rapper Michelob, and singer Alison Crockett. However, before the album was complete, a major personnel change at Sony left Us3 in limbo.[citation needed].

DiscographyEdit

AlbumsEdit

List of albums, with selected chart positions
Title Year Peak chart positions
UK
[3]
AUS
[4]
AUT
[5]
GER
[6]
NLD
[7]
NZ
[8]
SWI
[9]
US
[10]
US
R&B/HH

[11]
Hand on the Torch 1993 40 51 11 29 81 28 21 31 21
Broadway & 52nd 1997 93 90 28 80 91 39 48 90
An Ordinary Day in an Unusual Place 2001
Questions 2004
Schizophonic 2006
Say What!? 2007
Stop. Think. Run. 2009
Lie, Cheat & Steal 2011
The Third Way 2013

SinglesEdit

List of singles, with selected chart positions
Title Year Peak positions Album
UK
[3]
AUS
[12]
AUT
[5]
BEL
(FL)

[12]
GER
[6]
NLD
[7]
NZ
[8]
SWI
[9]
US
[13]
US
R&B

[14]
"Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)" 1992 32 3 24 22 18 16 7 9 21 Hand on the Torch
"Tukka Yoot's Riddim" 1993 34 24 97 28 26
"Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)" (UK reissue) 23
"I Got It Goin' On" 1994 52 39
"Eleven Long Years"
"Come on Everybody (Get Down)" 1997 38 49 Broadway & 52nd
"I'm Thinking About Your Body"
"You Can't Hold Me Down" 2001 94 98 An Ordinary Day in an Unusual Place
"Get Out" 2002 174 97
"Say You Belong to Me" 2007 Say What!?
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Hand on the Torch booklet remark by Bruce Lundvall, President of Blue Note Records
  2. ^ a b c d e f Colin Larkin, ed. (1998). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Dance Music (First ed.). Virgin Books. p. 357. ISBN 0-7535-0252-6.
  3. ^ a b "Official Charts Company: Us3". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  4. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988–2010 (PDF ed.). Mt Martha, Victoria, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. p. 290.
  5. ^ a b "Discographie US 3". austriancharts.at (in German). Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  6. ^ a b "Us3 – German Chart". offiziellecharts.de (in German). Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  7. ^ a b "Discografie US 3". dutchcharts.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  8. ^ a b "Discography US 3". charts.nz. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  9. ^ a b "US 3 – Cantaloop". hitparade.ch (in German). Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  10. ^ "Billboard 200: Week of March 12, 1994". Billboard. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  11. ^ Peaks on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart:
  12. ^ a b "US 3 – Cantaloop". australian-charts.com. Retrieved 25 October 2022.
  13. ^ "Us3 – US Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  14. ^ "Us3 – Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard. Retrieved 18 May 2014.

Other sourcesEdit

External linksEdit