"Word Up" is a saying that was popular in New York and other urban areas in the US that acted as an affirmation of what was said, kind of a hipper "you bet." Cameo developed a character around the saying and wrote the lyrics about what he would say. They called the character "Vicious" and had him take out his frustrations on rappers who delve into psychodrama when they should be creating music you can dance to: "Give us music, we can that, we need to dance. We don't need that type of psychological romance."
Cameo was a popular funk band in the '70s and '80s. This hit fused their funk background with elements of rap, giving them a big hit.
Cameo leader Larry Blackmon got the idea for the guttural vocal from Sly Stone, who is one of his heroes.
Korn and Melanie Brown have both recorded this. It was also part of a popular mash-up with Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl." The corn version cracked the US chart at #123.
In the movie The 40-year-old virgin, Steve Carell sings a karaoke version of this alone in his apartment.
Michelle from California, UsaThe Gun cover is on the "Barb Wire" soundtrack.
Jo from Huntly, New ZealandThis song is GREAT! But I think I like KoRn's Version better as it sounds more like a party.
John from Nashville, Tn"Word Up" was Cameo's first of two top 40 pop hits (the followup "Candy" was the other one). It served as the title tune to the group's first platinum album. Before this massive success, Cameo collected seven gold albums and several top 10 r&b hits.
Don from Indianapolis, InAnother note, Cameo might have been calling out a rap group called "UTFO". They are most famous for starting the "Roxanne, Roxanne" rap battles that by the end, had a couple of dozen "answer-counter answer" records that involved those known and unknown. UTFO's follow-up hit, was a song called "Split Personality" in which they rap-sample some of the words to Cameo's title track hit, "Single Life." It could have been a little Cameo-style commentary there...
Don from Indianapolis, InOne of the BEST dance/funk songs to come out of the '80's. The group has the same claim in my opinion. They put Atlanta on the "musical map" long before LaFace Records did, along with all these rappers who constantly lay claim to it being home.
David from Baden-baden, GermanyGun did a very awesome rock version!
Constance from Dallas, TxCameo did the best version period! Hands down! LOL! Constance Dallas, TX
Theo from Johannesburg, South Africathe korn version is awesome!!!jon davis rules!
Joel from Columbia, ScI like the Korn version better lol
Linda from OudenaardeRock band Gun did a magnificent cover version of this song.