Thanks to New Jersey high schoolers Kevin Vincent and Jeremiah Hall, another '90s classic has made its way back to prominence. Setting off a viral dance trend with their #RunningManChallenge, Vincent and Hall chose Ghostown DJs’ feel-good jam “My Boo” as the backdrop for their quick-footed sensation. The craze, which landed the two on Ellen Degeneres’s couch, has also been adopted by a host of athletes, including Kyrie Irving and University of Maryland basketball players Jared Nickens and Jaylen Brantley. And as the challenge continues to rack up shares, likes and retweets, “My Boo” also made its way back onto the charts.
The certified jam, which became a R&B staple 20 years ago under the So So Def imprint, initially made its way to No. 31 on the Billboard Hot 100. Its reintroduction on social media recently earned the track the No. 21 spot on iTunes, which serves as a clear testament to the power of the internet. We got to chat with Ghostown DJs’ DJ Demp and Virgo Williams about unknowingly providing the soundtrack for the #RunningManChallenge and how they've reacted to the resurgence in popularity.
BET: Give us a little crash course of Ghostown DJs' “My Boo” and how the song came about.
DJ Demp: OK. Well, um, Rodney Terry and Carl Mo got in the studio and they came up with the beat. Carl Mo wrote it and Virgo came to the studio, and she killed it. She did her thing and the rest is history. It’s a classic.
Virgo Williams: Yeah, literally. We did, and it’s exciting to the see the movement that it has now as well.
You guys were down with So So Def back in the day. Talk a little bit about that.
Virgo: Yeah. Actually, I did the first compilation with Ghostown DJs and “My Boo” was on that. And then on the second — they actually dropped two more compilations after that — I had two more songs on the second one that I did with Carl Mo. And then I had another song on the third one. So it was pretty exciting to see all of those compilations take off and people really enjoy them. But they never quite took off like “My Boo” did.
What do you guys think it was about “My Boo” that just made it the classic that it is today?
Virgo: I think it’s the fun, feel-good song really
Demp: I was just about to say, it’s feel-good music. It’s like it doesn’t have an age feel to it. It’s that Florida-based music mixed with the R&B and it gives you a good vibe. You know? It’s good, clean music you play for any age group.
How did the Miami influence get into this song or was that in everything you guys did at the time?
Demp: That was Rodney Terry. He was doing mega production. Like, he produced MC Shy-D’s “Gotta Be Tough” from the whole Ghetto Style DJs and Uncle Luke era — Florida had the bass music, you know. And I’m from Florida, and around that time Atlanta started doing it, well the DJs, actually. We were mixing R&B music with the bass a capella. If you really listen to it, that’s [Soulsonic Force’s] “Planet Rock” that you hear. So, you’re listening to the bass beats and it’s still the same tempo really, it’s just a different BPM but it’s the same tempo. So it mixed well and that’s how we played the music, you know. And that’s how this came about.
Let’s talk about the Running Man Challenge. Where were you two when y’all first saw this pop off? And what were you guys thinking?
Demp and Virgo: [Laughs]
Demp: Well, the crazy thing is, I got a call from Rodney and he was like, ‘Yo, TMZ wants to interview you.’ But at the same time, I was looking at my email and TMZ was like, ‘Do you know anything about this Running Man Challenge? We want to get you on the phone.’ And so, that’s how I ended up hearing about it and I just didn’t know. I didn’t know how big it was gonna be. I didn’t know it was gon’ be like this.
Virgo: Yeah, exactly. I was just chillin’ at the house and one of my good friends, who’s a good DJ in Chicago, called us and was like, “Hey, have you seen this?” And then I saw it on all the social media sites and then all of a sudden it took a life of its own.
I know your mentions blew up after that.
So when “My Boo” was out, there was a different Running Man that looks nothing like this new Running Man dance. Tell me your thoughts on the remix of a dance that’s a classic.
Virgo: I think it’s really cute, actually. I guess “cute” is not a good word. I think it’s a cool dance. It’s nice to see young people come up with creativity, you know? And express that in their way. But it’s funny, because I remember saying, "That’s not the Running Man. That’s not what I remember."
Demp: I had to do a little research about it. There was another version right before MC Hammer did it. So, this new Running Man right here is actually called the Jersey Running Man, that’s where it came from. It’s a dance that was brought up a while back. So they haven’t really stolen the Running Man. I guess it’s just worded like that, but there’s a Jersey Running Man from a while back too.
Interesting. And did you know that “My Boo” was back on the charts too? Was that something you imagined could happen 20 years later?
Demp: I knew the record was timeless and it’s always been played. I turn on the radio every once in a while and I’d hear it, and you know, it’s a good thing to hear. Never knew anything like this would happen.
Virgo: No. It’s definitely God. God put us in on that.
Has anybody spoken to Jermaine Dupri?
Virgo: No. I know I haven’t. I don’t know about Rodney or anyone.
Demp: Nah, I haven’t talked to him. We shared a few posts together and things like that.
Did you guys get to check out the kids on Ellen? If you got a chance to talk to them, what would you want to say?
Virgo: I would just wanna know, "What made y’all decide to do that dance to our song?" You know?
Demp: I think he explained it on the interview, though. Like, it just popped in his head and he was like, they were in the class. They were bored, it popped in his head, told his friend to start recording it, but they were already doing the dance. But that’s the song they wanted to use and I’m just happy he chose this song to be the one, because he could’ve chosen any other song for real.
Bring us up to speed to today. What do you two have going on? What’s next?
Virgo: I’ve been working on some individual stuff for my personal project as well. I know at Ghostown, we’re also working on getting some stuff together as far as that’s concerned. So, you guys just need to look out for new songs and things like that. I know we’re going to do some shows. We’re working on that as well. So we hope to get out there this summer and do that. So, y’all just be ready because we’re ready.
Demp: Oh yes.
(Photo: Golden State Warriors Basketball via YouTube.com)