Today, we’re traveling back 16 years to the very start of one of the most groundbreaking bands to ever hit the airwaves. In 2001, animated group Gorillaz shocked the world with their first ever release, a self-titled album, featuring the song that launched their stardom, “Clint Eastwood.”
“Clint Eastwood” holds a dear spot in my heart, as it was the first song I ever learned how to rap. It’s my party trick. Not that I go to parties. Or get invited to them. However, as good as this song is, it’s not what’s playing on repeat today. Make room for the third single off the Gorillaz album, and probably the most under appreciated: “Rock the House.”
If you’re looking for some brassy hip-hop, featuring a talented rapper, a sampled trumpet line and some flutters of a flute, “Rock the House” is the song for you. The voice you hear on the track is the one and only Del tha Funkee Homosapien, who also appeared on “Clint Eastwood.” Interestingly enough, he’s credited as Del tha Ghost Rapper in order to stay within the Gorillaz storyline, in which he was said to be a ghost trying to escape death by hiding in drummer Russel Hobbs’ body. You can see the story pan out in the music video, which also serves as a nod to the classic 1980s film, The Shinning.
“Rock the House” is infectious and catchy, but according to Rise of the Ogre, the band’s autobiography, 2D never wanted the song to make the final cut, and Murdoc said he “won the song in a raffle.”
Maybe they were wary of it because it was their first song that wasn’t predominantly 2D singing, or maybe they didn’t like using the trumpet sample, taken from John Dankworth’s “Modesty Blaise.” Maybe they just didn’t like how it sounded so much different from the rest of the album. Either way, it’s a shame, because “Rock the House” is a top track that’s worth a daily listen, even after all these years.