What’s up, every bizzle? It’s Jizzle-ohn in the hizzouse with another Lost in the Izzle.
Before you grab the flaming torches and pitchforks, let me just say that’s my li’l way of introducing you to today’s artist, hip-hop pioneer/legend Frankie Smith, co-author of the classic “Double Dutch Bus” and progenitor of “izzle”-speak. That’s right, Frankie Smith gets all the credit/blame, not Snoop Dogg, who appropriated the izzle to big success a few yizzears ago.
A song about both the jump-rope technique and public transportation in Philly, “Double Dutch Bus” (download) was a nearly instantaneous smash on the R&B charts after its release. Smith wasn’t quite an overnight success, though, having spent some time in the trenches as a writer for acts like the O’Jays, Billy Paul, and other artists in the Philadelphia International Records stable. Smith got the idea for “Double Dutch Bus” after being turned down for a job as a city bus driver. He ended up in the studio at two in the morning, where he recorded a profanity-laced tirade about the bus system that, once cleaned up, became a single.
After massive success on the R&B charts (it spent eight weeks at the top), “Double Dutch Bus” crossed over to the pop side of things, where it had a little more difficult time, peaking at just #30. The chart position belies its importance in hip-hop history, however, since the song has been remade, sampled, stolen, etc., over and over, most recently by Missy Elliott with “Gossip Folks” in 2003, and this year’s travesty, a more straight-ahead remake by former Cosby Show cutie Raven-SymonÃ©.
As for Smith, he had trouble following up, failing to chart any more singles on the pop side of things. Smith went into acting with parts in Beloved (1998) and various B movies. His Wikipedia page claims he currently works as a delivery driver, which I sort of want to believe because it would mean he finally got that dream driving job he always wanted, yet I don’t want to believe it because that’s a little depressing after scoring a gold single. Can you imagine Frankie Smith delivering your package? “Here you gizzo. I just need your sigizznatizzure right hizzere.”
“Double Dutch Bus” peaked at #30 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart and at #1 on the Hot Soul Singles chart in 1980.
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