Blackstreet feat. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen – No Diggity

First Hit #1: November 9, 1996

What Blackstreet perfected with No Diggity was the cruising song. Something appropriate for driving around at legal speeds at night, feeling cooler than everyone else. It has a deliberately slow tempo and a strong beat, which make it ideal to sync with passing street lights, and it’s got a certain appeal that makes one want to lower all the windows and annoy nearby pedestrians. It’s a song that has a certain, single-minded focus on being cool that gives it its appeal, which also continues through the Hype Williams directed video. Cool doesn’t have to shout, it might have flash but it’s more self-evident. It’s got the confidence to just sound cool and make people want to buy it, so they can bask in it’s coolness.

It has also really aged well, I wouldn’t call it timeless but it doesn’t feel tied to 1996 in any way.

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One Response to Blackstreet feat. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen – No Diggity

  1. RBerman says:

    i didn’t realize half-buttoned overalls were still a thing in 1996. Blackstreet are like an earthier version of Boyz II Men: Excellent singers with tight harmonies, but more aggressive in their beats and lyrics, making room for two different rappers. The underlying music is the one-chord pattern of funk, noteworthy in this case that it’s all about acoustic guitar and acoustic piano. A catchy track all around, and an early entry in the trend of R&B songs with bleeped profanity which made it to the top of the charts. It’s really three different songs with the same beat, though. The opening and closing raps are typical boasts about the prowess of the performers, while the sung portion extols the allure of a dancing woman. Here’s a hint, Dre: Women are more likely to like you if you’re talking about how awesome they are rather than how awesome you are.

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