Song 315: Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock, “It Takes Two” (1988)


It’s funny how aware I was of hip-hop in my childhood without really knowing. I remember “It Takes Two” being omnipresent on the radio, but I didn’t think of it as hip-hop, or even rap. It was just the radio.

Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock didn’t have many other big hits, but the term “one-hit wonder” doesn’t seem like a fair one to use here. For one thing, this track is far from novelty: It’s heavy and fierce, and Rob Base’s delivery (starting with the confident “I’m gonna rock right now!”) is the very definition of momentum.

The backbone of “It Takes Two” comes from the 1968 song “Think (About It)” by James Brown associate Lyn Collins. The track, like Brown’s own “Funky Drummer,” has been sampled by many, but none use the song as much as “It Takes Two,” which cribs not only the title phrase but the “Yeah! Woo!” exclamations that continue throughout its running time.

I love this period of hip-hop, because it sounds like every rapper and DJ is trying so, so hard to get your attention. Today, it sounds like the logical extension of the more gentle variety New York hip-hop that was built for good times. The blueprint had been created, and it was time to use it for something more chaotic.


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