In The Quantity Ones, I’m reviewing each single #1 single within the historical past of the Billboard Sizzling 100, beginning with the chart’s starting, in 1958, and dealing my approach up into the current.
The nostalgia cycle could be completely baffling, particularly when that wheel spins round to issues that got here into existence if you have been already a functioning grownup, issues that imply nothing to you. Working example: “Glamorous,” the second chart-topping hit from the solo Black Eyed Pea Stacy Ann “Fergie” Ferguson. I used to be an expert music critic when “Glamorous” got here out, and I don’t recall giving that track a lot of my psychological vitality on the time. However “Glamorous” evidently left an impression on somebody, for the reason that track has principally gone to #1 twice now.
A 12 months in the past, a few of us may’ve thought of “Glamorous” to be a pleasantly forgettable piece of George W. Bush-era cultural flotsam. I’d’ve considered “Glamorous” the identical approach that I now take into consideration one thing like “This Is Why I’m Sizzling,” the track that “Glamorous” knocked out of the #1 spot. However then somebody got here alongside and sampled the shit out of “Glamorous,” and the track with the pattern went all the best way to #1.
I don’t normally wish to spoil future columns, however on this case, what the hell. Jack Harlow was just a little child in Kentucky when “Glamorous” went to #1, and he apparently cherished that track. A decade and a half later, Harlow was on the lookout for a surefire hit, one thing that may push him all the best way into the higher tier of rap hitmakers. Harlow’s government producer Angel Diaz advised Complicated, “We had mentioned early within the course of about simply discovering one thing apparent that’ll join with individuals immediately.” That dialogue led them to “Glamorous,” and that track proved simply apparent sufficient to do what Harlow wanted.
Finally, this column will cowl the Jack Harlow track that coasted on nostalgic “Glamorous” recognition to #1. In that Complicated story, Jack Harlow’s co-producer Rogét Chahayed comes proper out and attributes the success of Harlow’s hit to “Glamorous”: “The actual star of that track is the pattern.” This column has coated a complete lot of songs which can be constructed on apparent samples. Fergie herself had a whole lot of success with songs like that. However when “Glamorous” bubbled again as much as grow to be culturally seen once more, it caught me off guard. Possibly “Glamorous” meant extra to the world than I noticed.
The factor about that’s: I’m not even positive “Glamorous” mattered that a lot to the individuals who made it. The “Glamorous” beat virtually turned one thing else. In 2005, Polow Da Don, the Atlanta producer who made “London Bridge” with Fergie, was nonetheless an up-and-coming beatmaker with out too many credit to his title. On the time, the previous Quantity Ones artist Gwen Stefani was on the brink of launch her album monitor “Luxurious” as a single. Polow put collectively a “Luxurious” remix and submitted it to Interscope, Stefani’s label. Stefani turned the remix down, and Polow’s “Luxurious” remix by no means formally got here out. As a substitute, it leaked on-line. Stereogum posted about this complete story again when individuals have been determining why Fergie’s hit had the identical beat as that leaked “Luxurious” remix.
On the unique model of Gwen Stefani’s “Luxurious,” the monitor’s two producers, Nellee Hooper and Stefani’s No Doubt bandmate Tony Kanal, sampled the Isley Brothers’ silky 1983 monitor “Between The Sheets,” the identical monitor that had already been famously sampled on Biggie Smalls’ 1994 traditional “Massive Poppa.” (“Massive Poppa” peaked at #6. It’s a 9.) When “Luxurious” got here out as a single, the official remix saved the identical beat as the unique, and it added a verse from Houston rapper Slim Thug, who’s already been on this column for guesting on Beyoncé’s “Verify On It.” “Luxurious” wasn’t an enormous hit for Stefani; it peaked at #21. Possibly she ought to’ve used that Polow remix as an alternative.
Gwen Stefani sings “Luxurious” as a love track, however she additionally takes audible enjoyment of all the flowery issues that come together with being a pop star: First-class flights, limousines, champagne kisses. Stefani and Fergie have been each signed to Interscope. Each had pursued solo careers partly on the urging of label boss Jimmy Iovine. “London Bridge” Fergie’s first #1 hit, sounded at the least just a little bit like Stefani’s “Hollaback Woman,” so perhaps it’s not too stunning that “Glamorous,” Fergie’s second #1 hit, used the beat from Polow Da Don’s rejected “Luxurious” remix. In any case, I’m not particularly mad about Fergie ripping off a Gwen Stefani track. I like “Glamorous” greater than I like “Luxurious.”
“Glamorous” and “Luxurious” aren’t the identical track. They’re simply shut to being the identical track. (I like imagining Polow Da Don trying up the phrase “luxurious” in a thesaurus.) “Luxurious” is about being wealthy and in love, whereas “Glamorous” is about being wealthy however staying true to your self. Each songs experience the identical materials items, and each of them occur to say first-class flights, limousines, and champagne kisses. It’s straightforward to think about Jimmy Iovine, irritated at Gwen Stefani’s rejection of the Polow remix, telling Polow and Fergie to show that remix into a complete new track.
In contrast to Gwen Stefani’s unique model of “Luxurious,” “Glamorous” isn’t constructed on a pattern. “Glamorous” does, nevertheless, take one in every of its hooks from an older file. In 1991, the early Atlanta rapper Raheem The Dream launched a monitor known as “If You Ain’t Obtained No Cash.” Over a pattern of Afrika Bambaataa’s “Planet Rock,” Raheem chants, “If you happen to ain’t obtained no cash, take yo’ broke ass residence.” I don’t know if that was one thing that individuals have been chanting in golf equipment earlier than Raheem put it on a file, however “Glamorous” undoubtedly makes liberal use of that line. (Polow used that very same chant on his rejected “Luxurious” remix.)
On “Glamorous,” that Raheem chant contrasts with the monitor’s smoothness. Polow Da Don’s beat is lush and genuinely attractive. The track’s skeleton is a relentless, pulsing drum-machine increase that calls again to Miami bass, however Polow layers all types of ear sweet over these drums. Strings sigh softly. Guitars twinkle. Keyboards hum. It’s all terribly fairly, and it sounds costly — a reasonably essential factor when the track is all about having fun with costly issues. The entire goal of “Glamorous” is to indicate that Fergie continues to be a real-ass particular person even amidst all this finery, in order that “take yo’ broke ass residence” chant evokes the time when she was striving to achieve that glamor.
“Glamorous” walks the identical line that a whole lot of rap songs stroll. (Fergie isn’t precisely a rapper, however “Glamorous” is principally a rap track.) Fergie depicts herself as being overwhelmingly profitable, however she additionally claims that she’s nonetheless the identical particular person. It’s the message that powered Jennifer Lopez’s #3 hit “Jenny From The Block” just a few years earlier. (That one is a 7.) However Fergie by no means got here from the block; she was a suburban child who turned a baby actor. On “Glamorous,” all of Fergie’s allusions to her outdated life are fairly imprecise. After the present, after the Grammys, Fergie likes to go cool out with the household, reminiscing on the times when she had a Mustang. (I consider a Mustang as a reasonably good automotive.) Fergie nonetheless goes to Taco Bell drive-thru, uncooked as hell. I hope that the Taco Bell meals she’s consuming isn’t uncooked as hell. Cooked Taco Bell meals is a dicey-enough proposition. I’d completely not belief Taco Bell sushi.
Fergie actually did must battle to seek out fame, however “Glamorous” isn’t about that. It’s only a track about being profitable with out letting success change you. It’s a fantasy, and if Fergie immediately began barking about kicking her crystal meth habit, the fantastical bubble may’ve popped. As a substitute, Fergie spends many of the monitor purring about flyin’ firstclass up within the sky, poppin’ champagne, dwelling the life. I used to hate the voice that Fergie used when singing about being “floss-ay floss-ay,” however then Lana Del Rey made a complete profession out of that sort of vocal fry, and now I prefer it.
“Glamorous” appears to happen in some moneyed dream-space, and its Ludacris visitor verse simply reinforces that impression. Luda, who’d taken his personal single “Cash Maker” to #1 just a few months earlier, stays one of many all-time nice guest-verse rappers, and his “Glamorous” look offers the track a critical vitality increase. Luda largely simply talks about the identical stuff as Fergie: “I gotta preserve sufficient lettuce to assist your shoe fetish/ Existence so wealthy and well-known Robin Leach’ll get jealous.” However somebody retains messing with Luda’s voice, stretching and distorting sure syllables: “You deserve nothin’ however all of them finer thi-iii-iiings.” It makes the track that rather more bizarre and playful. (Fergie, Ludacris, and Polow share songwriting credit score with Fergie’s Black Eyed Peas bandmate will.i.am, who organized the monitor, and common Polow collaborator Elvis Williams, in any other case generally known as Blac Elvis, who performs keyboards.)
That playfulness is essential. If “Glamorous” was simply Fergie bragging about being wealthy, the track can be unbearable. As a substitute, “Glamorous” is Fergie and Ludacris having enjoyable with these signifiers of wealth. It’s a complete pastiche of an precise rap track, however it’s gentle and propulsive and foolish. Fergie spells out the phrase “glamorous” for us, and she or he sing-raps the entire monitor in a kind of drag-show parody of a Hollywood grand dame.
Within the video, we see Fergie going from yard social gathering to personal flight, and she or he’s nonetheless obtained her associates along with her. Within the yard social gathering, these associates embrace a few Black Eyed Peas, Cypress Hill’s B-Actual, and Contemporary Prince Of Bel-Air‘s Alfonso Ribeiro, who does a tough-guy variation on his Carlton dance. We additionally get a fast look from Six Ft Beneath‘s Freddy Rodriguez because the flight attendant who makes horny eyes at Fergie whereas pouring champagne.
A few weeks after “Glamorous” reached #1, Freddy Rodriguez and Fergie each starred in Planet Terror, the Robert Rodriguez half of the retro-exploitation double function Grindhouse. Fergie isn’t in Planet Terror for lengthy earlier than she will get brutally zombie-murdered. Quentin Tarantino, the opposite Grindhouse director, performed one of many zombies, and he apparently bit Fergie whereas filming that scene. She later mentioned that the chew wasn’t truly abusive and that she and Tarantino have been simply having enjoyable. Nonetheless, gross. Not glamorous in any respect.
Dave Meyers directed the “Glamorous” video, and it got here out across the identical time as his remake of The Hitcher, which was completely pointless but additionally fairly enjoyable — kind of like Grindhouse. Meyers by no means actually made it as a function filmmaker, however he stays one of many all-time music-video greats. Within the “Glamorous” clip, Meyers makes Fergie look glamorous, so mission completed. When Ludacris reveals up, he and Fergie are dressed up as ’30s gangsters, and so they’re in an armed standoff with police. After the Bonnie And Clyde shootout, although, somebody calls lower, and we see Fergie and Luda on a film set — presumably the one approach you might get weapons right into a rap video on MTV in that period. The entire concept is fairly apparent: Fergie is simply performing. Within the different scenes, she’s simply performing the function of a wealthy pop star or a round-the-way lady. The artifice is the purpose.
By the point “Glamorous” reached #1, Polow Da Don had been newly minted as a star producer. Over the subsequent few years, Polow helped make a complete lot of hits, and he additionally rapped on one in every of them. Across the identical time that “Glamorous” hit #1, the Alabama rapper Wealthy Boy, a Polow protege, obtained to #6 with the Polow manufacturing “Throw Some D’s.” (It’s a 9.) Polow has a verse on that track, and he’s obtained probably the most memorable line: “Each freak ought to have an image of my dick on they wall.” My feeling is that freaks ought to solely have photos of Polow’s dick on their partitions in the event that they need photos of Polow’s dick on their partitions, however I respect the ambition. We’ll see extra of Polow’s manufacturing work on this column.
When “Glamorous” reached #1, Fergie’s solo debut The Dutchess was already platinum. Fergie had taken “London Bridge” to #1, and she or he’d gotten to #2 along with her follow-up single “Fergalicious.” (That one is an 8.) Fergie’s first three singles have been all smashes, and she or he wasn’t achieved but. We’ll see Fergie on this column once more, each as a solo artist and as a Black Eyed Pea.
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