Down Low (rap group)

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Down Low
Down Low 1999.jpg
Down Low on 16 July 1999, shortly before their concert in Dresden, Germany
Background information
Origin Germany
Genres Hip hop
Rap[1]
Years active 1995–present
Labels K-Town
Past members Joe Thompson

Down Low is a rap group formed in Kaiserslautern, Germany, in 1995 by Joe Thompson and Darren Tucker. The group is known for hits like "Johnny B." Down Low are considered as one of the first groups to bring hip-hop music in a European style in the middle of the 1990s together with artists such as C-Block, Nana and A.K. – S.W.I.F.T.

History[edit]

The group was formed in December 1995 in the K-Town studios in Kaiserslautern. The members were rapper Joe Thompson, who served in the U.S. Army during Operation Desert Storm and had a friendship with Rod. D from Fun Factory, as well as singer Darren Tucker. The first single "Don't Look Any Further", a hip-hop version of the song of the same name of the M People received no attention; the second song "Vision of Life", however, became a hit in several European countries in the middle of 1996.

Shortly after the publication of "Vision of Life", Tucker had to leave the group due to disputes with his manager. He was replaced by Mike Dalien. The album Visions and the singles "Murder" over the case of O. J. Simpson, "Potion" and "Lovething/We Do It Like That" followed soon. Together with Flip Da Scrip, the group produced the song "Nothing Like Viva" as a hymn on the German music-television channel VIVA under the project name Hip Hop Alliance.

A second album, It Ain't Over, followed at the end of 1997. The song "Johnny B.", a cover version of The Hooters, became the group's largest hit and climbed to number four in the German single charts. Radio NRJ distinguished Down Low as the best rap act in 1997.

In the spring of 1998, the group created Rapper Against Racism in order to promote talented new singers and rappers (La Mazz, Trooper Da Don, Jay Supreme and others) and point a spot on racism still present in Germany at that time. In the autumn of 1998 the group released the album Third Dimension. The single "Once Upon A Time" could tie to past successes; the probably saddest song of the group contained elements from the music by Ennio Morricone for the epic spaghetti-Western film Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). With the song "H.I.V.", one drew the attention of the dangers of the AIDS virus.

After the publication of a greatest-hits album, the gorup took a break for 1½ years. In 2001, the fourth album, The 4th Level, which was clearly an R&B-album, was released. Dalien left the group because of musical differences in 2001 at the beginning of the work on The 4th Level. His successor became Erick "Rick" Lamont Smith, who had already co-operated in the past with the group and had published some singles under the name La Mazz and Dressman. Since the German public had lost the interest in European rap in the meantime, the group could celebrate no further success in Germany. In 2002, the record company published a remix of Murder with samples of the rapper Warren G.

In 2003, the group released a DVD, Visions – The Singles 1997–2003. In the autumn of 2003, the single "Living In The Ghetto" appeared. The publication was, however, a single-handed attempt of the record company; the artists experienced only later of it, and for the lack of promotion the song found no commercial attention, but nevertheless became a club hit. Thompson accused SHIFT Music later of cannibalizing the group from money scarcities.

For 2004, an album, Down Low V / Adrenaline, was announced. But since the new style of the group did not please the record company, the album was not published. For a while it looked like as if the artists would possibly close a contract with a new label in the United States, for legal reasons probably under a new project name. However, in April 2005 Thompson announced that the group had settled the controversy with SHIFT and would work on new material again. The first song "Every Day (MMMM)" of the album Return of The Trendsetter was released 27 October 2006.

On May 23, 2014, Down Low released their comeback single "Friday Night".[2]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
GER
[3]
AUT
[4]
FIN
[5]
ITA
[6]
Visions
  • Released: October 14, 1996
  • Label: Shift, (ZYX)
  • Formats: CD, Cassette
77
It Ain't Over
  • Released: November 24, 1997
  • Label: Shift, (ZYX)
  • Formats: CD, Cassette
37 47 9
Third Dimension
  • Released: November 16, 1998
  • Label: Shift, (ZYX)
  • Formats: CD, Cassette
84
Moonlight
(released in Italy only)
  • Released: March, 1999[7]
  • Label: Baby/RTI
  • Formats: CD, Cassette
5[7]
The 4th Level
  • Released: April 2, 2001
  • Label: Shift, (ZYX)
  • Formats: CD, Cassette
Return of the Trendsetter
  • Released: October 27, 2006
  • Label: Shift, (ZYX)
  • Formats: CD
"—" denotes items which were not released in that country or failed to chart.

Compilation albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions
GER
[3]
AUT
[4]
FIN
[5]
ITA
[6]
Best Of
  • Released: July 26, 1999
  • Label: Shift, (ZYX)
  • Formats: CD
Visions: Best of the Singles 1997-2003
  • Released: March 3, 2003
  • Label: ZYX
  • Formats: CD
"—" denotes items which were not released in that country or failed to chart.

Singles[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
GER
[3]
AUT
[4]
FIN
[5]
FRA
[8]
ITA
[6]
SWE
[9]
SWI
[10]
"Vision of Life" 1996 19 10 Visions
"Murder" 25 38
"Nothing Like Viva"
Hip Hop Alliance (featuring Down Low and Flip Da Scrip)
91 46
"Potion" 1997 37
"Lovething" 82 It Ain't Over
"Moonlight" 35
"Johnny B." 4 13 7 33 14 8
"Hit Me Right" 1998 95
"Once Upon a Time" 4 7 26 6[11] 6 Third Dimension
"H.I.V." 1999 53
"So Long Goodbye" 64 49
"Don't You" 2001 99 The 4th Level
"Murder 2002"
Down Low (featuring Warren G.)
2002 Non-album track
"Africa" 2007 Return of the Trendsetter
"Friday Night"[2] 2014 TBA
"Party Like a Freak"
Cassey Doreen (featuring Down Low)[12]
TBA
"—" denotes items which were not released in that country or failed to chart.

Other singles[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
GER
[3]
AUT
[4]
"I Want to Know What Love Is"
(Rappers Against Racism, featuring Down Low, La Mazz and Scream Factory)[Notes]
1998 36 20 The Message

Notes^ The track is from the album The Message by Rappers Against Racism.

DVDs[edit]

2003

  • Visions – The Singles 1997–2003

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Fan site with biography and discography at T-Music

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Down Low". Musicline.de. Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Amazon.com: Down Low (Friday Night)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-06-18. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Charts.de: Down Low (Discography)". Media Control (in German). Charts.de. Retrieved 2014-06-18. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Austrian Positions: Down Low Discography". austriancharts.at (Hung Medien). Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c "Finnish Positions: Down Low Discography". finnishcharts.com (Hung Medien). Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  6. ^ a b c "Italian Positions: Down Low Discography". italiancharts.com (Hung Medien). Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Hits of the World: Italy (Issue: March 27, 1999). Billboard (via Google Books). Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  8. ^ "French Positions: Down Low Discography". lescharts.com (Hung Medien). Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  9. ^ "Swedish Positions: Down Low Discography". swedishcharts.com (Hung Medien). Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  10. ^ "Swiss Positions: Down Low Discography". swisscharts.com (Hung Medien). Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  11. ^ Hits of the World: Italy (Issue: February 20, 1999). Billboard (via Google Books). Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  12. ^ "Amazon.com: Cassey Doreen (Party Like a Freak)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-07-30.