Digital Underground (formed in 1987) is an American funk-infused alternative hip-hop group which has featured a rotating cast of personnel including Tupac Shakur, hailing from Oakland, California, U.S.
Digital Underground first appeared in 1987 led by Greg “Shock G” Jacobs, Jimi “Chopmaster” Dright, and Kenneth “Kenny-K” Waters, however has its roots in the funk of the ‘70s. Initially inspired by the militancy of The Black Panthers, Shock G soon altered the group’s aesthetic to appeal to fun-loving and whimsical rap listeners. Issued in 1990, Digital Underground’s debut album “Sex Packets” was led by the modestly successful single “Doowutchyalike”. Featuring Shock G’s alter ego Humpty Hump, the album’s second single “The Humpty Dance” was a national success peaking at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100. The record became critically acclaimed, praised for its combination of samples and live instrumentation at odds to the rap climate dominated by Public Enemy and N.W.A.
The group’s membership had expanded by this point to include DJ Fuze, Money-B, Schmoovy-Schmoov, and notably Tupac Shakur, and released a debut EP, “This is an EP Release”, in early 1991. Tupac had initially appeared with the group as a dancer and subsequently a hype man before making his debut on the track “Same Song”. Digital Underground’s sophomore album “Sons of the P” was released later in 1991 peaking at No. 44 on the Billboard 200. Spawning the singles “No Nose Job” and “Kiss You Back”, the album is marked by an early guest appearance by George Clinton.
Following a successful tour, the group returned to the studio and released the explicit single “The Return of the Crazy One” in light of the burgeoning gangsta rap scene. The full-length “The Body-Hat Syndrome” was subsequently released in 1993 peaking at No. 16 on the Top R&B/Hip Hop Albums Chart. Failing to find a national market for their music, Digital Underground’s fourth studio album, “Future Rhythm” was independently released in 1996. The full-length “Who Got the Gravy” appeared in 1998, however failed to receive much attention, and was followed a decade later by ”..Cuz a D.U. Party Don’t Stop!”.
Money B & Young Hump are the current touring representation of the Digital Underground family.