“This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan
Montell Jordan’s “This Is How We Do It” is your quintessential West Coast party song, in fact being classic in that regard. And as far as its thesis sentiment goes, most basically it would be something like get your boogie on.
But there is a distinct narrative contained therein, which makes this track unique amongst its peers. And it is that storyline which we will follow in analyzing “This Is How We Do It”.
It commences on a “Friday night”, which is of course the unofficial onset of the weekend, i.e. the part of the week dedicated to partying. And verily there is a “party… on the West Side”, which we can interpret, to some degree, as a general reference to the West Coast.
So the first thing Montell, an L.A. resident himself, does before heading out is reach for his “40” ounce bottle of liquor. And of course under such circumstances, i.e. being intoxicated, it is not advisable for him to drive. So he hands ‘the keys to his truck’ to a “designated driver” he also has on hand.
Then, once he’s good and boozed, the vocalist heads down to a popular part of L.A. known as Crenshaw. Some of the ladies on the scene are already familiar with the singer and congratulate him on his success.
And he spends time not only admiring the “honies” in their “summertime skirts” but also being impressed with the dudes rockin’ Karl Kani, a flashy clothing brand from the ‘90s which was in fact quite expensive.
And those of you familiar with localities like Crenshaw may also recognize it as a place where Friday-night parties can be quite dangerous. But Jordan is also relishing in the fact that on this particular evening “all of the gangbangers” are disinterested in committing a “drive-by” shooting. So he is encouraging his fellow partygoers to let loose and enjoy the vibe.
Then the second verse begins with showing how they are partying – for instance throwing their “hands… in the air and (waving) them from here to there”. And this is a party for everyone, from the established O.G’s, i.e. original gangstas, to the ‘wannabe players’.
But as for Montell himself, despite coming from humble beginnings he is a “now… a big G”. That basically means, as noted earlier, that he has made it, which then connotes that he’s paid. And yes, “the girls” are diggin’ the fact that he “got the money”.
And Montell further reveals, as far as spending money goes, that he likes chillin’ “in a big black truck”. That is most likely a reference to a black SUV. And whereas the last few statements may sound braggadocious, such is not really the case.
The vocalist is just fundamentally celebrating that he’s at a point in life where he is able to pick up women. And likewise, he is advising others to conduct their own partying business as they see fit.
Next comes the third verse, in which Montell gets more autobiographical. In fact by this point, it becomes pretty obvious that the vocalist’s come-up is a subtheme of the entire piece. And back in the days, before being put on, his most-notable characteristic was standing at 6-feet 8-inches in height and the fact that made “good” music.
So eventually he hooked up with a “DJ” named “Paul”, which would undoubtedly be a reference to Paul Stewart, the producer who signed Montell to Def Jam. And in the process the singer also gives a shoutout to “Oji” Pierce, who helped compose this song and obviously was instrumental in launching Jordan’s career.
Then as far as the party-espousing chorus geos, it features what can be deemed a notable emphasis on “South Central”, a part of Los Angeles. Well it just so happens that this song came out during the height of the 1990s’ East Coast vs. West Coast feud. And it seems that at the time, artists from Cali especially were compelled to rep their ‘hoods.
But this is not to imply that Montell was heavily involved in such nonsense. For instance, in the aforementioned third verse he officially borrows the flow of Slick Rick, a rapper from New York City. And before all is said and done, Jordan also manages to give a shoutout to his label, “Def Jam”, which is also based in NYC.
So in conclusion, we’ll say that party songs are a dime a dozen. But this one is different, in that the narrator is not focusing on his desire to dance or get intoxicated or what have you. Instead Montell Jordan uses it as a proper debut single, i.e. to celebrate the fact that he landed a notable record deal in the first place.
So for him personally, he’s not partying just for partying’s sake. Instead now when he rolls up to the club, block or wherever else in the ‘hood the action is at, he is doing so as a certified music star.
Add Montell Jordan, a singer from L.A., to the long list of musical acts who had a really hot debut single and has gone on to become virtually unheard of since. But to his credit he did have quite a few hits during the 1990s, even if none proved quite as popular as “This Is How We Do It”.
For instance, in 1998 he dropped a hit track entitled “Let’s Ride” featuring sibling rappers Silkk the Shocker and Master P. That song reached number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. And in 1999 “Get It On Tonite”, which can be considered his last big hit, topped Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
However concerning his music career, it should be noted that in 2010 Montell forsook the industry and rather took up a calling in Christian ministry.
Achievements of “This Is How We Do It”
As implied earlier “This Is How We Do It” was his biggest hit, reaching number 1 on the following Billboard charts in the United States:
- Hot 100
- Hot R&B/Hip Hop Songs
In addition to the above charts, it also topped the UK R&B Chart across the pond. It also reached the pinnacle on music charts in Canada and Zimbabwe. Additionally, the track has received platinum certification via the RIAA.
This tune also earned Montell Jordan a Grammy nomination in 1996. That was in the category of Best Male R&B Performance. The award ended up going to Stevie Wonder’s 1995 track “For Your Love”.
Meanwhile this song’s music video was helmed by the top hip-hop filmographer of the era, Hype Williams. And the clip went on to receive a couple of MTV VMA nominations in 1995.
Moreover the album this song is derived from, which was Montell Jordan’s first, is itself entitled “This Is How We Do It”. And it proved successful enough, largely due to this track, to earn a platinum certificate of its own.
Additionally a remix of this song by Dutch DJ Joe Stone, officially featuring Montell Jordan, proved to be a mild hit in 2015.
Fans of hip-hop predating the 1990s will recognize that the instrumental and third verse of this song rely heavily on “Children’s Story”, a track Slick Rick dropped in 1989.
And by the way, Montell and Rick would go on to officially collaborate on a tune in 1996 entitled I Like.
Concerning said instrumental Montell Jordan produced it himself, accomplishing that task alongside the late Oji Pierce (1960-2006). And the three aforementioned individuals – Montell, Oji and Rick – are also credited as the writers of “This Is How We Do It”.