“Jump Around” by House of Pain
Lately we’ve been covering quite a few classic dance songs whose hooks are so catchy that the verses get lost in the sauce. That is to say that even these tunes, such as this one, may be universally popular, few people know what the artists are actually rapping about.
And in this case Everlast more or less admits as such, even if indirectly. Or more precisely, he dropped lyrics which he thought were “too hardcore” to make it mainstream. But again, that’s the power of creating a chorus as powerful as this one – no one really picks up on what’s being said in the verses anyway.
So we already know what’s going on in the chorus. “Everybody” is being advised to “jump around”, which within this context would be a form of wild dancing. And in analyzing the verses, it seems that Everlast may have overestimated his hardcoreness as noted above. For despite the fact that there are some potentially-controversial lyrics, even by early-1990s rap standards, he doesn’t necessarily say anything eye-popping.
A Real West Coast Rapper
In fact he comes off more or less like your quintessential West Coast rapper of the day, a true protégé of Ice-T’s. For instance, he lets it be known a couple of times, using some choice language, that he isn’t fond of the police. Also, the vocalist dedicates quite a few bars to admiring his own lyrical skills.
And yes, there are quite a few references to violence, including an allusion to opps getting shot. But there’s not even any curse words in the song, unless you consider “b*t*h” to be one.
However admittedly, the lyrics do get quite hostile at certain points, especially as far as what’s considered by some to be a family-friendly dance song is concerned. But again, in the grand scheme of the tune the featured storyline gets little attention anyway. After all, ‘busting’ some dude “in the eye” and then taking his girl or ‘smacking a ho’ doesn’t have anything to do with jumping around anyway. So it’s sort of like hey, the vocalist has to rap about something.
So as far as the thesis sentiment goes, even though the verses have almost nothing to do with jumping, still we would argue that such is it. After dissing the police, threatening to beat dudes up and what have you, that’s what every verse concludes with, an admonishment to “get out your seat and jump around”, with the vocalist himself ‘coming to get down’, i.e. lead by example.
And truth be told, there are very few songs, if any, that are as effective in encouraging audiences to jump as this one. So, there you have it. This truly is, as far as its main point goes, a song about jumping, though in a raucous, party-like manner.
Facts about “Jump Around”
If you’re one of those people who get House of Pain mixed up with another popular, non-Black hip-hop trio from the early ‘90s called Cypress Hill, then you shouldn’t feel too bad. In fact it was Cypress Hill’s DJ Muggs who originated (i.e. produced) “Jump Around”, which is House of Pain’s signature song.
And in fact as the story goes Muggs, also being the song’s co-writer, created it specifically for Cypress Hill. However the crew’s vocalists, B-Real and Sen Dog, rejected it.
Also the first emcee to actually spit over a demo version of the instrumental was Son Doobie. He was a member of a group associated with House and Pain and Cypress Hill known as Funkdoobiest.
The other co-writer of “Jump Around” is former House of Pain frontman Everlast. The crew, which consisted of him, Danny Boy and DJ Lethal, really went defunct circa 2011. However, they did engage in a 25th anniversary tour in 2017.
Danny Boy has gone on to explain that since he didn’t co-write this song, he doesn’t get any royalties from performing it.
House of Pain is by and large a one-hit wonder, with this song being their one hit. “Jump Around” is their debut single, being derived from their first album, itself being entitled “House of Pain”.
The track went on to be certified platinum in the US and UK. In addition to that, it reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also hit number 8 on the UK Singles Chart. Furthermore, it soared to number 1 on the UK Dance Chart. And the album itself, presumably on the strength of this track, also achieved RIAA platinum certification.
Even More Interesting Facts!!!
While running for President in 2016, Donald Trump made use of “Jump Around” at his rallies. Everlast in particular dissed the damn out of the Donald in response. He went as far as referring to him as a “piece of sh*t” and a “scumbag”. Interestingly, he didn’t end there! He went on to threaten to punch Trump in his face if he ever met him. Or put otherwise, he strongly disagreed with him utilizing ‘his song’.
The music video to this track, which was directed by David Perez Shadi, was filmed during the 1992 version of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This parade is major event held annually in New York City. Both Everlast and is former House of Pain cohort Danny Boy are of Irish descent. And because of this connection, this clip has gone on to become rap’s most famous Irish-American video of all time.
This was also the song that helped House of Pain land their first record deal. It was with Tommy Boy Records, the same label that put out “Jump Around”.
Interesting to note is that 1992 was also the year in which another jump-oriented song, “Jump” by Kriss Kross, came out and also proved to be extremely popular.
Of course a song this well-received has been featured on a number of movies, television shows and sporting events. But amongst Everlast’s favorites of the lot are “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993) and “Black Hawk Down” (2001). However, he did not take kindly to the tune being used on a Pringles commercial.