On Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock's "It Takes Two," Rodney Bryce may be the second-billed name, but he makes the record. With all due respect to Base, listeners wouldn't pay attention to his competent but unexceptional rap without E-Z Rock's explosive rhythm track, built on an electrocharged sample of Lynn Collins' 1973 "Think (About It)" and accentuated throughout with James Brown grunts and whoops.
New York's DJ E-Z Rock, who died earlier this week at 46, recorded only sporadically with his partner Rob Base, with the duo's last record being released in 2000. Nobody thinks of them as one of hip-hop's all-time greatest acts.
But with "It Takes Two" they did make the greatest rap single of 1988, which is like making the greatest Hollywood movie of 1939. It became one of the very first singles in the genre to be certified platinum, and had Billboard at the time been using the Soundscan technology it switched to in the early Nineties, technology that accurately quantifies what songs stations play and consumers purchase rather than relying on the word of a sample of program directors and record store managers, it likely would have peaked at a loftier position than Number 36.
"It Takes Two" though, has endured far beyond many hits that placed above it. It was their one great moment, but one of the greatest of the Eighties. The credit goes to DJ E-Z Rock, who created something truly out of sight.