The first time I heard Jump Around by Rappers House of Pain, I was playing hoops at Greenlake Park in Seattle against some of coldest ballers from the C.A.Y.A (Central Area Youth Association) select basketball team. It was May 1992.
My buddy, Little Joker walked over with this boombox and yelled at me so loud I turned to see if he was alright, just as one of the guys from CAYA dunked in my face with two hands. Little Joker would normally be clownin’ but he just nodded and pressed play.
All of a sudden this sound, like a siren; what’s been called the distinctive horn fanfare, fills the park. The epic anthem beings:
“Pack it up, pack it in, let me begin
I came to win, battle me that’s a sin
I won’t ever slack up, punk you better back up
Try and play the role and yo the whole crew’ll act up
Get up, stand up (c’mon!) c’mon throw your hands up
If you’ve got the feeling, jump across the ceiling”
The whole game stopped and everyone on the court walked closer to the boombox. The chorus dropped, “Jump up, jump up and get down”, as the basketball rolled to my feet. I grabbed the ball as something came over me. I’d never been able to dunk a basketball before. I came close. I never dunked the ball clean…but that chorus shot through me and rushed to my head like a whippet.
Then I heard this couplet;
“And just like the Prodigal Son I’ve returned / Anyone stepping to me you’ll get burned,”
That’s when the dopamine hit my spine.
I picked up the ball and let out a savage Irish gale as I ran across the court towards the rim, adrenaline pulsating through me like 40,000 volts. I soared through the air still screaming like I was shoving a spade through the hearts of a dozen English colonizers with a single trust. Everyone in the park within 100 yards turned towards me as I river danced through the air.
As I cocked back the ball for to do my evil deed, I heard, “I am the cream of the crop, I rise to the top”.
I could feel my entire hand inside the rim as the ball ricochet off the back of the back of the iron. The sun kissed Spalding caromed across the court to the feet of this old man. He picked up the ball and said this as he threw me a perfect bounce pass.
“The horn intro of that song was lifted from The Harlem Shuffle.”
– Davin Michael Stedman, The Staxx Brothers
(master of ceremonies for Evergreen Fest in Auburn, Washington)