Features I by I 26.03.17

Montell Jordan’s legacy is more than just ‘This Is How We Do It’

Love it or hate it, Montell Jordan’s ‘This Is How We Do It’ has remained a popular party track since its release in 1995. But it’s often forgotten that there was way more to Montell than just that track. Claire Lobenfeld looks back at some of Montell Jordan’s almost-forgotten biggest hits.

There are two kinds of people in this world: people who roll their eyes to the point of pain when ‘This Is How We Do It’ comes on at a party and people who are ready to scream-sing the song’s very first “sha-la-la-la-la-la-la-la” as soon as the beat hits. (OK fine, there are also people who do not at all care either way for the song, but this isn’t a history lesson or nostalgia bender for them.)

The point is, Montell Jordan’s 1995 debut single was just not just a hit when it was released over two decades ago – peaking at no. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and staying there for seven weeks – but an enduring piece of pop music history that still gets play from the karaoke bar to a Golden State Warriors halftime show.

The only problem with maintaining the legacy of Montell Jordan’s ‘This Is How We Do It’ is that it doesn’t give the deserved credence to the rest of Jordan’s career. He spent the later half of the ’90s dominating the pop charts with singles from his first three albums, including collaborations with Slick Rick, as well as Master P and Silkk the Shocker. Jordan was also a songwriter for other artists, penning Deborah Cox’s ubiquitous 1998 hit ‘Nobody’s Supposed to Be Here’.

Jordan left the music industry in 2010 to pursue religious work and published a self-help book with his wife Kristin in 2015 called This Is How We Do It! about marriage, relationships and God. Still, it is the song ‘This Is How We Do It’ the fails to escape the pop culture landscape, even though Jordan’s pop career was so much more than that. Here’s a look back at five of his biggest hits.

‘Somethin’ 4 Da Honeyz’
(This Is How We Do It, 1995)

‘Somethin’ 4 Da Honeyz’ was proof Montell wasn’t going to be a one-hit wonder. It may have only peaked at no. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100, but this follow-up to ‘This Is How We Do It’ was no slouch. The new jack swing track went gold and picked up a remix from major ’90s player Redman.

‘I Like’ (Feat. Slick Rick)
(More…, 1996)

The lead single from Jordan’s second album More…, ‘I Like’ primarily got play for its inclusion on The Nutty Professor soundtrack. One of the most high-profile releases of that year, the OST was helmed by a slew of rap, R&B and pop’s most impressive producers, from Babyface and Dallas Austin to Warren G and Devonte Swing from Jodeci. It put Jordan alongside massive singles, both Foxy Brown collabs, like Jay Z’s ‘Ain’t No’ and Case’s ‘Touch Me, Tease Me’.

‘Let’s Ride’ (Feat. Master P & Silkk The Shocker)
(Let’s Ride, 1998)

Riding high on the ‘Make Em Say Uhh!’ wave, the title track from Montell’s third album Let’s Ride showed that he was ready to evolve with contemporary radio R&B as it morphed from the sounds made popular by Teddy Riley and Jodeci’s DeVante Swing.

The track is still true to the genre’s pop form with the subtle influence of the slick tricks Timbaland, Missy Elliott and Static Major – all students of Swing – were imbuing into their own production. Plus, if you didn’t know the No Limit Soldiers were sex symbols in their own right, this let you know.

‘I Can Do That’
(Let’s Ride, 1998)

If ‘Let’s Ride’ was the seduction, then ‘I Can Do That’ is the delivery. Jordan was known for party cuts, but this ballad leaned into the end of the grown and sexy ’90s the same way he did on 1996 single ‘What’s On Tonight’, but with bigger *ahem* results. It still remains one of his biggest hits to date.

‘Get It On Tonite’
(Get It On… Tonite, 2000)

If any other song of Jordan’s followed him past his heyday, it’s this one. It gained a second life Munchi’s ‘Esta Noche’ from a collaborative EP with Heartbreak in 2010 (‘memba moombahton?).

But ‘Esta Noche’ stayed on people’s minds for reasons other than Montell: In 2012, Munchi beefed with Azealia Banks for rapping over ‘Esta Noche’ on her underrated Fantasea tape. In no part of the squabble did we ever see Munchi’s receipts for the sample, but we can still look back at one of Jordan’s last big victories now.



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