Ghost Town DJ’s “My Boo”: Throwback Video of the Day
Ghost Town DJ's DJ Demp, Rodney Terry, Greg Street, Virgo Williams and Kamren Davis, may be called one-hit wonders, but their single, “My Boo” is a staple in hip-hop and R&B culture. The success of their single, was because of the So So Def camp that came together to push the artists forward, showing support to many up-and-coming artists needed by mainstream platforms at the time.
In 1996, Jermaine Dupri was King of the South. The record exec had launched the careers of multi-platinum artists like Kris Kross, Xscape, and Da Brat. Dupri’s label, So So Def, was established in 1993 through a joint venture with Sony and Columbia. The label had made its mark for its crossover sounds and had a substantial catalog of number one singles. It was far removed from the underground Miami bass scene of the time that was ruled by gritty, raunchy groups like 2 Live Crew, 69 Boyz and Freak Nasty. Dupri was open to trying something new and let the DJ/Producer Lil’ Jon curate a project different from So So Def’s usual offering “I was working A&R at So So Def,” Lil’ Jon told Spin magazine in 2016. "[So So Def Bass All-Stars] was my first project on the label. I executive produced it and A&R’d the album.”
Rodney Terry, who is originally from Pasadena, California, expands on their collaboration, saying “Lil' Jon was there the whole time. He couldn’t take production credit because he was an A&R director, but Lil' Jon helped produce the record. Me and him mixed the record.” Terry also told Billboard that the concept was supposed to be an R&B record sang over a fast beat, which was originally supposed to be sung by another artist. “There was another girl, named Akima, who sang the record at first. But she couldn't really sing it, because Carl Moe had written it for his voice,” Terry continued to explain. “It was too low for her to sing, so I fired her in the studio. Virgo was there. Originally, a guy sang "My Boo" -- it was so low that Virgo needed to follow somebody in that key.”
The music video, released that same year, featured locals throughout Atlanta against a series of backdrops, which include a bedroom, a car wash, and a classic beach party. Dupri made a cameo as the lifeguard having a bit too much fun, but the group was nowhere to be seen. “[Ghost Town DJ’s] was really a throw-off of Luther Campbell’s Ghetto Style DJs of Miami, which I was a part of back in the ‘80s with the 2 Live Crew and that kind of stuff. So that’s really where it kind of came [from]," Terry explained. "I just wanted to emulate what they were doing in Miami with the Ghetto Style DJs of Miami so I came up with the name Ghost Town DJ’s. The words 'ghost town' to me means heard and not seen,” he continued.
Terry also explained why the music video has the title "(V/O version No. 2)," instead of just "My Boo." “The version of 'My Boo' that you’re hearing now is actually the second version. Me and Lil' Jon came up with the idea way before we did the record, and I even went to California for three or four days to just try and get the vibe,” he said. “I came back and we just wanted to do it [ourselves]. It really didn’t work out with the people we were producing it with. And then, one day, I was in Lil' Jon’s office and I played the beat and [producer Carl Moe, who’s a credited songwriter on “My Boo”] was in there with his keyboard and he just fell right into the pocket.”
Not only did the song chart high on the Billboard 100, it also became a megahit in New Zealand, France and Australia, and experienced a reemergence in 2016, after two New Jersey high school students Kevin Vincent and Jeremiah Hall posted The Running Man dance with “My Boo” as their selected track. Following that, two players from the University of Maryland Terrapins college basketball program, Jared Nickens and Jaylen Brantley, issued the #runningmanchallenge. The video became a viral sensation putting the track back on the Billboard charts. The song peaked at No. 10 on the US R&B/Hip-Hop chart.
Terry had called "My Boo" "when West Coast meets Miami," but Dupri saw it differently. “It’s not Miami, not West Coast. It’s Atlanta.” Decades later, it’s one of the most prominent songs to come out of The Peach State. Now, try to top that.