How weird is it that this song made it to #3 on the Billboard chart? The Quad City DJ's had this as their breakout hit, and riding (sorry) on the popularity of that, they got to do the theme song for the Michael Jordan vehicle Space Jam the very next year. "Space Jam" - the song - charted at #37 in 1997, and that's it, there isn't any more to the story of the Quad City DJ's. They broke up, and nobody's seen hide nor hair of them since.
The Quad City DJ's were actually just a couple of producers, C.C. Lemonhead and Jay Ski. That's JeLana LaFleur on the vocals, apparently enjoying exactly 15 minutes of being famous. Furthermore, this was their only single released from their only album, although the Space Jam soundtrack is forever branded with their essence as well.
Nice stock sound effects here; this might be one of the last hit songs in North America with a train theme. Note that the TV series Soul Train had just let go of Don Cornelius in 1993, and was staggering around with a few different hosts trying to find itself again when this song was released. So there might have been an intentional continuation of the idea of trains being a metaphor for R&B music here.
This song is a prime example of the thinly populated Miami Bass genre, more a part of booty bass than anything else. Other notable songs in this genre include "Me So Horny
" and "Whoomp! There It Is
." C.C. Lemonhead was a big part of this scene: he was part of the group 95 South who did "Whoot! There It Is
" and the 69 Boyz, whose hit was "Tootsee Roll."
Somebody liked this enough to make it the theme song of the 1996 film High School High, which had a blink-and-miss-it box-office run. It starred Jon Lovitz - you almost remember him from the cult-classic animated TV series The Critic.
This was released on Atlantic Records, which in the '60s was home to the likes of Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin, but scored their R&B success in the mid-'90s with artists that included Aaliyah, Changing Faces, Mark Morrison and Junior M.A.F.I.A.
The 1996 University of Florida football team (The Gators), appropriated this song and made the "blowing the horn on the train" gesture to signify big plays. Their coach, Steve Spurrier, wasn't sure what those crazy kids were doing, but he didn't like it.
In the Cameron Casey-directed music video, the DJ's are riding through the streets of Los Angeles, but not on a train. They're on a low-riding space ship with a crew of dancers. Most of the dance moves were improvised to accommodate the one-day shoot.
The word "train" is repeated 23 times throughout the song.