Writer(s): Jermaine Dupri, Joe "The Butcher" Nicolo, et al (see lyrics here)
Released: February 6, 1992
First Charted: March 28, 1992
Peak: 18 US, 13 CB, 14 GR, 3 RR, 2 RB, 2 UK, 11 CN, 13 AU, 9 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): 2.2 US, 0.2 UK, 2.47 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 151.17 video, 158.38 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
While rap was “unambiguously Black music” SG the first crossovers to the pinnacle of the Hot 100 were “carefully vetted for white consumption.” SG When the “kiddie-rap duo” SG Kris Kross came along, they were “unthreatening but…also made straight-up rap music.” SG Their debut single, “Jump,” was “the most credible version of rap music that had ever made its way to the top of Billboard Hot 100.” SG “There’s no melody on ‘Jump,’ no singing. It’s pure rap music.” SG
It “is a ridiculously catchy and memorable song” SG “targeted directly at the kids…who had never known a pre-rap world.” SG The song is “a stitched-together collection of samples” SG that realistically couldn’t have been released in the era when samples have to be cleared. Jermaine Dupri is credited as the primary songwriter, followed by 26 more credits. WK
It was Dupri who discovered and assembled the Atlanta duo and came up with their “deeply impractical trademark…look” of wearing their baseball jerseys and jeans backwards. SG Chris Smith and Chris Kelly had been friends since first grade. SG They were only 12 and 13 when they recorded “Jump.” FB These were charismatic kids who didn’t cuss, but “came off tougher and meaner than a lot of the other pop-rap…in the major-label system at the time.” SG They actually addressed “adult themes like gang violence and drug problems” FB “instead of singing about what was happening on the playground.” FB
Dupri went on to be a very successful producer and songwriter but Kris Kross’ success petered out. They landed a few more top-20 hits over the next few years, but never reached the top ten again. Their final album was released in 1996. It’s gotta suck to “be considered washed-up at 17.” SG Chris Kelly sadly died of a drug overdose at 34 years old. Still, in the spring and summer of 1992, they were a cultural phenomenon. They “weren’t titans or anything, but their success was an important moment in rap history, and their one big song is still pretty great.” SG
First posted 6/22/2023.