In present times, dance songs are not taken seriously in Hip Hop but they were a driving force that fueled the culture in the seventies and eighties. Many emcees released an array of classic dance tracks that stood the test of time. But 1988 was the year Rob Base and D.J. E-Z Rock gave the world one of the most addictive and recognizable songs in history with, “It Takes Two.”
Rob Base and D.J. E-Z Rock were childhood friends who were original members of the group, The Sure Shot Seven. Although they were youngsters when they initially joined, they remained in the group until no one was left but the two of them. They began recording together and eventually put out the underground song, “DJ Interview” on the World To World label. The track gained notoriety and led them to a distribution deal with Profile records.
Under the Profile umbrella, the duo released their biggest single to date, “It Takes Two.” The track spread like wildfire ushering record sales of their debut album that shared the same name to the top of the charts. The single became one of the biggest hits of the year and was huge club anthem eventually taking it to platinum status.
Following the success of their hit single, Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock released another hit, “Joy and Pain,” in which they sampled the widely popular Frankie Beverly and Maze classic by the same name. They also released, “Get On The Dance Floor” which was not as successful as their other two singles but still performed well which further pushed their debut album to also achieve platinum status.
Although the lyrics and beats on the album had more of a club and dance feel, Rob’s rhyming style earned him respect on the Hip Hop scene. The album was full of soul infused tracks and notable samples and had a huge crossover appeal that surpassed the rap genre.
But the success that Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock attained would soon wither into oblivion. The duo was hoping to build off their wildly popular song and album but their success suddenly became undone by legal problems and private issues. They faced legal troubles because of the Frankie Beverly sample used for the popular single “Joy and Pain” in which the singer threatened action against the rap stars. In addition, DJ E-Z Rock disappeared from the limelight and the public was never given a definitive reason what the specifics were behind his departure. Fans were told he left the group due to personal problems, thus leaving Rob Base to shoulder the burden alone.
Rob attempted a solo career and released an album, The Incredible Base in 1989 but was unable to generate the success of It Takes Two. His solo effort went Gold but did not pull him out of the shadow of his explosive debut. The two eventually reunited and tried to recapture the magic in later years but after a failed reunion album, Break Of Dawn in 1994, they faded into the background.
After a small hiatus, the group reemerged in the spotlight. Even though Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock do not show up in weekly tabloids or sit at the top of the billboard charts, they continue to tour across the country and still have a legion of devoted fans that look to them to capture those fun times of classic hip house. While some label them as a one hit wonder and say “It Takes Two” is the only song that holds any merit for the duo, the platinum single has withstood the test of time. The song continues to remain widely popular often showing up throughout pop culture. Anyone who pays attention to sports would more than likely hear the song blasting throughout stadiums during time outs, half time shows or catch that noticeable scream that can get any party started. Base and Rock contributed to the golden era and helped Hip Hop grow with their massive crossover appeal. So no matter what people deem them, they gave us a timeless song that helped put Hip Hop on the map.