“The Humpty Dance / Here’s your chance, to do the hump.”
That was the chorus to the super popular song, Humpty Dance, by the hip-hop group Digital Underground during the early-1990s.
Humpty Hump. The alter-ego of Digital Underground’s leader Shock G, was him wearing a Groucho Marx-style nose and glasses. The story that was made up to keep the fictional story alive, was to cover up horrific facial scars incurred during an accident with a deep-fat-fryer, LOL.
Shock G and his alter ego Humpty Hump rapped about raunchy escapades that, according to the lyrics, took place in a Burger King bathroom. The story and the persona proved to be profitable: Humpty’s anthem, “The Humpty Dance,” was a number one pop hit around the world and has been sampled by over 50 other artists– which presumably means that to this day, Shock G is still cashing royalty checks from one of the biggest girl-power groups, The Spice Girls.
The man behind the music is Gregory Jacobs (Shock G/alter ego Humpty Hump), is the man responsible for Digital Underground’s “The Humpty Dance”, 2Pac’s breakthrough single “I Get Around”, and co-producer of 2Pac’s debut album 2Pacalypse Now.
In 1980, Jacobs who just turned 55 this year, decided to pursue music seriously. He quickly obtained his diploma, and began attending Hillsborough Community lege, where he studied music theory under Jim Burge and piano under Patricia J. Trice. It was there at HCC that he met and formed a bond with Kenneth Waters, and the two began performing together under various names including The Chill Factor, as well as The Four Horsemen. Then in 1985, after two years of producing artists and playing piano gigs, Jacobs and his girlfriend related to Oakland, CA. That’s where he formed Digital Underground which grew to include, DJ Fuze, Money-B, and the late, great Tupac Shakur.
These days, nearly 30 years later, Shock continues to work on music and play shows— “That never stops,” he says to Boombox.com.
“Up until twelve, I had a pretty normal, American phase, with a little back and forth,” says Jacobs. “My mother wasn’t the type of person to let us be middle class. She always said, ‘I don’t like him going to the school where there aren’t other Black kids; he’s not going to that school.’ She made sure I went to mixed schools, even when we were in a neighborhood where I would have gone to a predominantly White school. She also made sure that we stayed in touch with people who didn’t live in the neighborhoods we lived in. I see in hindsight that a lot of times the babysitters she picked for us were so we didn’t lose touch relating to the ’hood. My mom was from Brooklyn, and she was a tough woman. She could walk down Broadway or Fifth Avenue in Manhattan at two in the morning, coming home from someplace.”
So how did Humpty Hump thing start?
“George Clinton used to use his anonymousness to keep paparazzi and record company people off of him when he didn’t want to answer to them. People used to wonder like, ‘Which one is George Clinton? He’s either Starchild or Sir Nose…’ You never really got a good look at him. So I had that game as well. I was really entertained by…