'I Got 5 On It' raced into the UK Top 3 on release in February 1996... It had already been a monster hit all over Europe for these lively young fellas.Not surely "lively" is exactly how I'd describe them, nor how they'd like to be, given that this song is fairly blatantly about the desire to smoke cannabis - specifically, apparently, the reference to 5 means that they're offering to go halves on a ten-dollar bag of the stuff. If I've learnt anything from 1990s popular culture, it's that one of the most prevalent effects of dope is to induce massive overestimation of how interesting the subject actually is to the rest of us. Admittedly, this only lasts about four minutes so it's not as bad as the fame of Howard Marks, but it's still a pretty boring subject lyrically.
At the time, this track never seemed to be off the music TV channels and I soon grew to hate it, shunning it to the extent that I didn't realise Luniz were only a duo (not counting Michael Marshall, who sings the chorus but has only been given co-credit in retrospect). In subsequent years I've discovered two things: firstly, that it actually has a fairly decent West-Coast-style backing track, which has been sampled a few times; and secondly that that track itself is heavily dependent on samples. The main sample is from Club Nouveau's 'Why You Treat Me Me So Bad', which is itself derived from 'Thinking About You' by Timex Social Club, another track that features Michael Marshall. This one is listenable now if tiresome.
Luniz weren't quite a one-hit wonder - they had a second Top 20 with 'Playa Hata' and a remix of this track was a hit in 1998 - but they seem to fall into that category of hip-hop acts who struggled to attract a permanent audience.
Available on: Original Hits - All American