By now, we have seen a million videos of grandparents doing the shuffle or the Barack Obama mash-up of I’m Sexy and I Know it, but what is it that has the whole world party rocking? Or more to the point, what is a ‘party rock’? And while we’re on the point, where did that shuffle thing come from? And how have these two afro-topped lunatics managed to take over dancefloors all over the globe?
Well regardless of your shuffling prowess or your ability to wiggle wiggle, you will most definitely be aware of who LMFAO! are. The band, whose name comes from internet slang ‘laughing my f*cking ass off”, have taken over the charts over the past two years with a style of music which they define as “party rock”; it’s rock, dance and rap rolled into one big crazy bundle, which is fuelled by house parties and drinking.
Following the independent release of the Party Rock EP on iTunes in July 2008, LA born party dudes Red Foo (Stefan Kendal Gordy) and his nephew Sky Blu (Skyler Austen Gordy) were subject to a pretty instant rise to fame, as by November of the same year they were signed to Interscope records; with their debut single, I’m in Miami bitch hitting shelves the following month.
Their Party Rock album, released in 2009, peaked at 33 in the billboard charts, but it braced the world for the craziness it was about to witness upon the release of their second album, Sorry for Party Rocking in 2011. This album saw Foo and Blu take the ‘shuffle’, which was an underground dance style for a few years, to a commercial audience by dumbing it down so that even your granny could do it. They also have the wiggle which takes little or no dance talent at all.
As you may have realised over the years, if a song has a signature dance move or a specific section of catchy and simple choreography, it tends to do very well. Sure even my little sister knows the Macarena, a few steps which accompanied the song of the same name in 1994 – ten years before she was born!
So where did they go right? Well, they have the moves, they are following up this year with their own ‘Party Rock’ clothing line, they have the neon pink skin tight zebra print pants and the party rock crew which tours the world with them. They have the hair and they have countless catchy songs; but all of this is one big piece of marketing genius helped with a healthy dose of nepotism. “Nepotism Karl?”. Yes, nepotism.
King of the afro, Red Foo just so happens to be the son of music mogul Berry Gordy, founder of the Motown record label. With artists such as Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, Michael Jackson and The Temptations on his books, it is obvious that when Gordy sees a gap in the market, he capitalises on it. While having no obvious direct involvement with LMFAO!, Berry has guided his son and his nephew on to a path which will see them party rocking their way to multi-millionaire status in no time (as if being a Gordy didn’t come with enough wealth). With the resources available to LMFAO! it is no wonder they are famous, sure if I was Berry Gordy’s son, I would be more famous than Michael Jackson, married to Janet Jackson, and have more girls hanging off me than Hugh Hefner.
While I am not a fan of being famous because you’re somebody’s son or daughter, ie Calum Best or Nicole Richie, I am willing to let the LMFAO! thing slide, these dudes know how to have fun, they can create catchy hooks, make a club going wild and make damn good songs while they’re at it.
While I know that “wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle yeah” could have been written by my two Jack Russells, and it will not be carved into music’s history books for impeccable song-writing, I can at least say that the music world is a better place thanks to the young Gordys.
They have not just created a group, they created a brand and a unique sound. They can take what they have created and take it to pretty much all sides of the music sphere. They don’t take themselves seriously, well, they don’t really take anything seriously, and I’ve witnessed this first hand. I was part of the party rock crew for a few days last year, I have party rocked until I dropped, and it was probably the most fun I’ve ever had… ever! They are the definition of cool, their parties are a thing of sheer amazement and they give us a break from the seriousness of the Adeles and the monotony of the Guettas and Derulos. What we are left with is some fun, outrageous, party rocking goodness, and long may it continue!