The year was 1993. I’m a young high school student in Miami, Florida, mostly just focused on where I’d sit on the bench for each school basketball game and which girl I would like but never talk to. One thing I loved then (and still love now) is music. This particular year something happened in music that I hadn’t noticed before, and I still remember being confused about it.
I guess it’s not uncommon from all the songs ever created for two songs to have the same title. I mean, just take the word “Hello” and there dozens of different songs. Same with “Bad,” a title used by Michael Jackson and U2.
But what’s so rare about 1993 is that two songs with very similar titles came out only months apart, in the same genre, and both were popular.
You’ve probably heard one of them, as it has made it’s way back into popular culture by way of a GEICO ad. I’m talking about “Whoomp! (There It Is)” by hip hop group Tag Team.
Tag Team’s song was released in July 1993, but did you know four months before that (March 1993), hip hop group 95 South released a song called, “Whoot There It Is”? To this day it is their highest charting song.
Boosted by GEICO’s use of the track, Tag Team’s “Whoomp” has over 19 million streams. Notably, it also scored much higher on the charts in 1993 than did the 95 South song, which only has around 145,000 Spotify streams.
A fact that is neither here nor there, as a teenager I liked 95 South’s “Whoot There It Is” more than Tag Team’s song. With that said, both songs could boast of their popularity, as proved by late night talk show host Arsenio Hall having the groups perform their songs on the same night in a Battle of the Bands. Apparently, viewers called in to vote for their favorite as part of a fundraiser of some sort. Here are those performances.
“Whoot” on The Arsenio Hall Show…
“Whoomp” on The Arsenio Hall Show…
One other odd little tidbit about this phenomenon, I came across an article in the NY Times about the two songs, which you can check out here. I won’t get into all the details but how the newspaper story addresses race relations is weird, it feels disjointed. Somehow they tie in politics and even refer to whites and blacks still living in an almost segregated country. In 1993, the adults might have had race tension (it was only 2 years earlier that the Rodney King police brutality case was front and center in the news), but as a young teen living in Miami, I don’t recall any issues with my peers about one race being better or worse than another.
So now it’s my turn to add a disjointed thought to this post: I think racism sounds like an an adult problem… as in, it seems to only be a problem with adults. Same in 1993 same in 2021.
But all that aside, how about the odd enigma of these two songs being released the same year and both becoming popular in the hip hop genre? Pretty wild. Which do you like better? Comment below and as always, thanks for stopping by!
-Out of the Wilderness