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The story of ‘Summertime in the LBC’ — Andscape

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Get This Before It Disappears!

Make 2022 your best year yet and let this Moon Reading decode your destiny with precise wisdom you can’t find anywhere else!

On Aug. 15, 1995, Def Jam Recordings released the soundtrack for the hip-hop documentary The Show and the world heard the first song from the Long Beach, California, trio The Dove Shack.

That song was “Summertime in the LBC,” a melodic ode to summertime parties and cookouts in California. But for group member Bo Roc, its appearance on the soundtrack was a surprise. 

“They wanted us to submit a song for The Show soundtrack,” he said. “We submitted a song called ‘Rollin Wit a Gang.’ Next thing you know, they released The Show soundtrack and ‘Summertime in the LBC’ is on there instead. All the promotion was for ‘Summertime in the LBC’ featured on The Show soundtrack. I still have people to this day who are die-hard fans of the song that don’t even know we put our debut album out a week after The Show soundtrack dropped.”

This is the Shack, the group’s debut album, peaked at No. 68 on the Billboard 200 and was the group’s only Def Jam release. Two other singles from the album were released, “We Funk (The G-Funk)” and “This Is the Shack,” which also appeared on Warren G’s debut album, Regulate…The G-Funk Era.

But “Summertime in the LBC” was the standout. And while the song only reached No. 54 on the Billboard Hot 100, it’s historic in G-Funk lore and arguably one of the most memorable West Coast rap singles.

“Everything about the song just feels like the song title,” said LA-based DJ R-Tistic. “The guitar intro, the smooth bounce to it, the bassline that feels like a ’70s soul classic, and the chorus is immaculate. I didn’t realize that so many people outside the West Coast had never heard it before, but even 28 years later, they hear it for their first time and love it.”

Warren G discovered The Dove Shack, which consisted of Bo Roc, 2 Scoops and C-Knight, after the group started making noise around Long Beach.

“I was in San Diego at the time,” remembered Bo Roc. “Warren G reached out to 2 Scoops and said he wanted us on his album. We were supposed to be part of the G-Funk imprint, so even though you see the G-Funk logo on the Dove Shack album, we were signed to PMP/Def Jam.” 

Music executive Paul Stewart, an A&R at Def Jam, founded PMP Records. He’s the Paul that Montell Jordan refers to on “This Is How We Do It” when Montell raps, “met a DJ and Paul was his name …

“I had signed and discovered Warren G,” recalled Stewart. “The Dove Shack was a group Warren produced, so it was natural to put them out through my label.” 

The origins of “Summertime in the LBC” are humble places.

“Summertime in the LBC” and ‘This is the Shack’ were two popular songs by The Dove Shack from their early work in the 1990s.

“My buddies Hank [Thomas] and Lamon [Turner] from Long Beach are the producers of ‘Summertime in the LBC.’ They made the beat and happened to be living in the same apartment complex I was living in,” recalled Bo Roc. “We were just local rappers from the neighborhood, and he gave me the beat for the song, and I paid it no mind.”

The beat would collect dust until one of Bo Roc’s homies came across the tape while at the “Dove Shack,” C-Knight’s grandmother’s house, where the group would hold parties.

“He pulled me aside and said ‘Man, you gotta use this.’ ”

Bo Roc’s girlfriend at the time braided hair, and one day, Arnita Porter, the secretary and assistant at Paul’s PMP Records, came over to Bo Roc’s house, and he put the “Summertime in the LBC” beat on.

“I get motivated behind the heat, and it was a hot day, hence, ‘Damn, it’s hot than a mother.’ I put the beat on and started writing the song. Arnita heard me singing it, and she chimes in and starts singing it with me, and I’m like, ‘Damn, you know how to sing?’ ”

Bo Roc immediately wrote Porter’s verse as well. And while her appearance wouldn’t be listed as a feature on the single or album, it resulted in some of the song’s most memorable moments as Porter transported listeners to her “’94 Wrangler Jeep, flossin’ all through Long Beach.”

While Bo Roc and collaborators were satisfied with the record, they didn’t even submit it to Def Jam at first. But as the group continued to record their Def Jam debut, they decided each group member would have a solo song on the album, and Bo Roc submitted “Summertime in the LBC” as his solo.

“I remember being blown away by Bo Roc’s vocals,” Stewart recalled about the first time he heard “Summertime in the LBC.” “I definitely felt like it would be a hit.”

As the group sifted through numerous records for their Def Jam album, the label cut C-Knight and 2 Scoops’ solo records from the project but wanted “Summertime in the LBC” and to have C-Knight and 2 Scoops get on the song. That’s why there are two versions of the song, one with C-Knight and 2 Scoops’ verses on the This Is the Shack album and a version with only Bo Roc and Porter that appears on the soundtrack to The Show.

“I remember the label being all hyped around ‘Summertime in the LBC,’ ” said Bo Roc. “We actually gave resistance to them being so hyped behind the record. They were like, ‘Oh, this is the one,’ and we were like, ‘Oh, no it’s not.’ We didn’t want them to introduce us to the world that way. We were trying to make our name as rappers.”

As was the case in the 1980s and 1990s, a single was only a single if it had a memorable video. Classic G-Funk videos such as Dr. Dre’s “Nuthin’ But a G Thang” took audio soundscapes and turned them into pictures of the world of West Coast hip-hop and street life.

And such was the case for the video for “Summertime in the LBC,” directed by Brett Ratner. The video echoed the sunny sensibilities of the song, with performance footage of The Dove Shack on rooftops and Porter and her girls cruising the streets.

But what may surprise people is where the video was filmed: Los Angeles. 

“No artists from the G-Funk era filmed their videos in Long Beach except for Snoop’s first music video,” said Bo Roc. “The ‘What’s My Name’ video caused such a riot they banned hip-hop music videos from being filmed in Long Beach.”

Nearly 28 years after the release of “Summertime in the LBC,” the record still reverberates in West Coast hip-hop circles. In many ways, it’s the West Coast version of another summertime classic.

“I feel that Fresh Prince’s song holds the title for the East Coast, while Dove Shack holds the title for the West Coast,” said DJ R-Tistic. “Both songs immediately place you into a perfect midsummer day in the ’90s.”

As to the song’s staying power, Bo Roc chalks it up to a love of the simpler things in life. 

“I think everybody has had a ‘Summertime in the LBC’ and a fun summer in their life. The song brings you back to when you were younger, a simpler time in your life with fewer responsibilities. Today they’re making songs about money, cars, houses, but no one is making songs about reminiscing about a time when you enjoyed life.” 

Adam Aziz is a writer and consultant living in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter @brokencool.


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