Tread Water

Album: 3 Feet High and Rising (1989)

Songfacts®:

  • This surreal children's story set to a Hip-Hop beat features a crocodile sporting a daisy in his hat, a monkey that can't peel his bananas because of a bandaged hand, and a fish swimming in the bathroom sink. Despite its nursery rhyme lyrics, Posdnous told Melody Maker that the track has a serious side to it. "It's saying that when you're feeling down, when you feel like you're drowning, just keep going," he explained. "That's how it was for us, we had to keep striving towards a goal which always seemed to be shifting around. It's a push song and even if it sounds like we're talking to little kids, we're really talking to everybody."
  • The song samples Pennsylvania funk band People's Choice's single, "I Likes to Do It," which reached #38 on the Hot 100 in 1971.
  • The trio came up with the idea for the song in producer Prince Paul's room. "The sample just sounded so happy-go-lucky, skipping, playing hopscotch, the whole walking through the water and meeting animals and crocodiles and telling a story," Trugoy told Rolling Stone. "It's like a children's story. Paul was always instigating our foolishness. When we started talking about meeting Mr. Crocodile, his eyes just lit up. He was like, 'Yeah, you talk about Mr. Crocodile, and you talk about meeting Mr. Rabbit.' So blame that one on Paul."

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