"All I wanna do is zoom-a-zoom zoom zoom in a poom poom -- just shake your rump!"
It may not look like much on paper, but when you hear it booming from a well-cranked sound system, the chorus from Wreckx-N-Effect's "Rump Shaker" comes on like a command. Some of it is in the delivery, of course, but mostly it has to do with the way those words lock into the rhythm track's frantic scratching, sax-like synth and thumping bass drum. Taken together, the chorus has a near-hypnotic effect, one which turns almost any listener into a willing rump-shaker.
No wonder that "Rump Shaker" was the single that put Wreckx-N-Effect back on the map after a three-year hiatus spent, as Wreckx member Markell Riley puts it, "working on getting out of our old contract." As comebacks go, "Rump Shaker" was a stunner.
But Riley and his partner, Aqil Davidson, didn't spend that time between projects sitting on their hands. These two did a lot of remixing -- adding extra dance appeal to other people's singles -- while waiting out their contractual troubles.
It helped that Riley's brother, Teddy, is one of the hottest producers in R&B, with credits ranging from Guy to Heavy D to Michael Jackson. But Markell Riley and Davidson certainly pulled their own weight. "We did a remix with Troop, we did a song with Michael Jackson, we did a song with Bobby [Brown]," Riley says, reeling off names from his home in Virginia Beach, Va.
Moreover, that work they did for others helped the Wreckx crew get a handle on how they wanted their own album to sound. "If people don't like what an artist puts out at first, you just do a remix with it," he says, explaining the remixer's role. "You just find the flavor they want. And then you know what type of flavor to put on it when you come out with your own album."
Finding the right flavor isn't easy, so Riley and his partner spend time checking out the club scene. And for Riley, that means journeying from his new home in Virginia to his old neighborhoods in New York.
"I think they really know what's happening these days," he says. "So I'll go back to New York and see what they like up there, and then I just try to get with that type of flavor. I don't stay away from there too long."
So why go to Virginia at all? "All of us don't live down here," Riley answers. "Aqil stays up in New York. But me and Teddy moved down here because, you don't have a lot of traffic going in and out your studio. So you don't have to worry about anybody stealing your ideas.
"Plus, it's a quiet vibe down here," he adds.
Well, usually. But things are fairly hectic at the moment, as Wreckx-N-Effect does its thing on the road. Although his brother Teddy is, for the most part, staying home -- "We know that Teddy has his own thing to do," says Markell -- there'll be no shortage of help onstage. "It's not just the two of us," he says. "It's like a whole group."
And how does this expanded lineup work out? Pretty well, says Riley. "What we mainly try to do is promote our album," he says. "And if you don't know all the songs, you will before that night is over."
When: Thursday at 7 p.m.
Where: Hammerjacks, 1101 S. Howard St.
Call: (410) 659-7625 for information, (410) 481-7328 for tickets.