First Hit #1: May 18, 1991
The most interesting thing about hip hop is that it was much more influential to other chart hits than it was actually a hit-filled genre, at least in the early days. Take I Like The Way (The Kissing Game), which has a hip-hop inspired beat, which is one of the most distinct elements of the song. But, it’s otherwise some easy listening R&B, with a curiously innocent chorus – “The Kissing Game” just sounds like something from elementary school. The vocalist also sounds incredibly young, which further kind of emphasizes the innocent, youth friendly vibe that Hi-Five is going for. It’s kind of appropriating what’s cool, which is something that people often disparage, but the packaging is kind of interesting in itself. It’s little sister music, stuff that reaches for what they hear thumping out of their siblings’ bedrooms, but instead made a lot more clean cut, so it’s not jarring for the younger audience.
That makes it sound crass and commercial, and maybe it is, but I like the way it sounds when they’re singing the Kissing Game, so maybe I’ve been hooked in like everyone else.