Do Remember When Soul II Soul Took A Classic Hip-Hop Beat & Kept It Movin’ (Video)
In 1989, Soul II Soul’s unique blend of R&B, Dance, and Hip-Hop music not only crossed oceans from its British origins, it had everybody crossing the dance-floor to find a partner. Before “Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)” would be a pillar of “acapella-cool,” another Club Classics, Vol. 1 single would move the masses, quite literally.
“Keep On Movin'” was the third official single from the boldly-titled 10/Virgin Records LP. The song, billed as “featuring Caron Wheeler” (although she was a member of Soul II Soul), had a dreamy vibe, with a message of encouragement, despite its club accessibility. Nellee Hooper co-produced the song with Jazzie B (before Hooper’s work with Madonna, Smashing Pumpkins, Sneaker Pimps, and others), which went to #11 in the States, and the top of the urban charts.
In 1990, Soul II Soul would be subsequently nominated for “Best New Artist” at the Grammy Awards. While the Virgin outfit took two trophies that night, neither were for “Keep On Movin’.” That song blended sultry vocals with a hard, synthetic drum arrangement. Wheeler’s vocals were tracked in a way that went in and out of harmonious overlays, while the beat, like the chorus says, did not stop. Pianos accented this slow-grind, smoky groove.
At a time when DJs like Kid Capri and Ron G were blending genres, this track was welcomed on mixtapes and club playlists. Those drums were familiar for Hip-Hop Heads who vibed with Eric B. & Rakim’s “Paid In Full” or Biz Markie’s “Pickin’ Boogers” (a harder presentation of that percussion) one year prior. Those drums were from deep within one of Hip-Hop’s most beloved sample sources, Graham Central Station’s “The Jam” (see just after 5 minutes):
While 1997’s Time For Change, is S2S’s most recent LP, the act (Wheeler and Jazzie B) has been regularly touring again since 2013.
#BonusBeat: The Teddy Riley remixed dub version:
One can hear the Public Enemy/Bomb Squad influence in this mix.