Maybe It’s Time To Invite The “Hotstepper” Back

Jul 16th, 2007 // 12 Comments

Phoenix-area radio is a trainwreck, or possibly just an extended advertisement for satellite radio. The choices are meager–you have an alternative rock station that features the singles from the Stone Temple Pilots’ debut in heavy rotation and a number of urban radio outlets, each of which is obligated by some sort of agreement to play “Umbrella” simultaneously every fifteen minutes. However, the station that is designed to “make you feel good,” Movin’ 97.5, has one staple that is a welcome bit of early-’90s nostalgia: Ini Kamoze’s “Here Comes The Hotstepper.”

Although this steps somewhat on Matos‘ expertise, it’s important to note: “Hotstepper” hit No. 1 in the U.S. at a welcome time, with four truly miserable songs taking hold of the top spot from May 21 to December 10, 1994. Those songs: All-4-One’s “I Swear,” Lisa Loeb’s “Stay,” and Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love To You” and “On Bended Knee”. One would imagine being featured prominently in the Roger Altman trainwreck Prêt-à-Porter would have doomed the track to obscurity, but it held on to the top spot for two weeks before the regrettable return of “Knee”. A clue as to why: Unlike Sean Kingston’s all-out hijacking of “Stand By Me” on “Beautiful Girl,” Kamoze was wise enough to throw together the components of two crowd-pleasers (the vocal hook of Wilson Pickett’s “Land of a Thousand Dances,” the beat of Taana Gardner’s “Heartbeat”)

Ini Kamoze made a return of sorts as the “Out in the streets, they call it murder” sample from Damien Marley’s “Welcome to Jamrock,” but he is unlikely to see a chart resurgence in the near future. However, “Hotstepper” deserves to be pulled from obscurity, recognized for its ability to rock crowds and drive middle-aged white people to chant “murderer.” Ini Kamoze, today Idolator pays tribute to you.

Here Comes The Hotstepper [Youtube]


  1. loudersoft

    act like you know, rico
    i know what bo don’t know

    god i love this song

  2. Rusty

    How dare you sully the good name of Lisa Loeb’s “Stay”?

  3. DeeJayQueue

    Here comes the Hot Pepper!
    Order Up!

  4. SAShepherd

    “Phoenix-area radio is a trainwreck, or possibly just an extended advertisement for satellite radio.”

    It worked on me.

    “Stay” would actually be a welcome reprieve on the radio here.

  5. Chris Molanphy

    Around 12 or 13 years ago I would’ve agreed whole-heartedly with you about “Stay.” Over the years, I’ve softened on it, and considering how numbing Lilith-style music got later in the ’90s, it’s a pretty good girlypop song, and it’s aged remarkably well.

    I also want to stick up, half-heartedly, for Boyz’s “On Bended Knee,” which is twice the song “I’ll Make Love to You (In an Ickily Specific Way)” is. It even features the umpteenth variation on the Jimmy Jam-and-Terry Lewis minor-key piano hook (Force MDs’ “Tender Love,” Janet’s “Come Back to Me,” Human League’s “Human,” Boyz’s “Water Runs Dry,” etc.), which for some reason always works on me.

  6. Chris Molanphy

    All-4-One’s “I Swear,” on the other hand — no argument there. That song borders on evil.

    Speaking of evil, know who was responsible for discovering All-4-One and getting them to record “I Swear”? Yup, him again.

    Today’s theme on Idolator: how Doug “the Thug” Morris ruins everything good in pop music.

  7. Audif Jackson Winters III

    I have to admit, I did not previously know that it was “murderer” being chanted. You don’t say. I thought the chant was a patois-ed “warm it up”, Kriss Kross and Big Daddy Kane stylee.

  8. girlhappy

    And I thought the chant was “Turn around”…

    I do love “Hotstepper.”

  9. Herman Menderchuk

    Is Roger Altman the less-talented brother of the great director Robert Altman? Just sayin’, is all.

  10. Dan Gibson

    @Herman Menderchuk: I prefer to not associate the guy who made “Nashville” with the 90′s output of the person with the same name. I think it was a subconscious slip to change his name entirely. I’ll get it changed as to not confuse everyone else.

  11. Audif Jackson Winters III

    Roger Altman is the guy who directed “Dr. T and The Women,” “A Prarie Home Companion,” “Cookie’s Fortune,” “Popeye” …

  12. coffeegirl99

    I live in Phoenix, and although I rarely listen to the radio (for the exact reasons described in the article), I have enjoyed many of the tunes on 97.5, including Hotstepper. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised to discover I remembered nearly all the words when I heard the song the other night on my drive home.

    “I know what Bo don’t know…”

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