Blackstreet with Dr. Dre & Queen Pen
Writer(s): Teddy Riley, Chauncey Hannibal, Lynise Walters, William Stewart, Dr. Dre (see lyrics here)
Released: July 29, 1996
First Charted: October 12, 1996
Peak: 14 US, 11 CB, 13 GR, 12 RR, 14 RB, 9 UK, 2 CN, 21 AU (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): 1.6 US, 1.8 UK, 3.44 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 342.66 video, 669.85 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
Teddy Riley became “one of the greatest producers in pop history” SG and the “originator of the new jack swing sound,” FB “a streetwise brand of R&B.” TB He produced blockbuster albums for Bobby Brown (Don’t Be Cruel) and Michael Jackson (Dangerous) and rap classics “The Show” by Doug E. Fresh and “Rump Shaker” by Wreckx-N-Effect. He “injected R&B with rap swagger and dance-music intensity.” SG
He’d also been with the group Guy in the ‘80s and ‘90s, but started a new R&B group Blackstreet in 1991. He said, “I wanted to do something like Boyz II men but with a different sound, different style, different image.” FB Their self-titled 1994 debut went platinum and set up the group for even greater success on their sophomore effort, Another Level. That album hit #3 and was certified four-times platinum. The first album generated a top-ten hit in “Before I Let You Go,” but the second album did even better with the chart-topping “No Diggity.”
The phrase came out of a unreleased remix of “I Like the Way You Work” from the first album. LL Cool J rapped on the track, using the line “no diggity” to mean “no doubt.” SG The song was built on a sample of “Grandma’s Hands” by Bill Withers. Riley and co-producer William “Skylz” Stewart looped the song’s “soft and thoughtful humming-to-himself moment.” SG Withers wrote the song about his grandma, but Riley “turned it into a song about an extremely sexy woman.” SG
“Blackstreet performed ‘No Diggity’ with all the swagger of street rappers” TB but it did also feature actual rapping. Riley brought in Lynise Walters, a rapper from Brooklyn known as Queen Pen who sounded a lot like Lil’ Kim. SG “She’s got a ton of presence, and she really attacks the beat, bringing equal measures of strut and style.” SG
Even bigger, though, is Dr. Dre, “the former N.W.A. producer and occasional rapper, [who] figured out how to make a street-rap blockbuster.” SG When Dre first heard the song, he told Riley he wanted to be in the video. Riley agreed, but only if Dr would rap on the song. His “verse isn’t exactly masterful, but it sounds cool as hell anyway.” SG
First posted 6/26/2023.