Ace of Base, Coolio, Pearl Jam – all major chart toppers in the early 90s, couldn’t touch The Dan Reed Network’s latest (and only?) hit – at least in the Portland metro area. Little did the folks know over at Nike, Z100, or The Dan Reed Network, but they were creating a monster in 1992 which still rears its head to this day. Aided by Trail Blazer stars Kevin Duckworth, Jerome Kersey, Terry Porter, and Buck Williams, they all came together as one to put out a Trail Blazers rap song to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland that brought Blazer Mania to never before seen heights.
At the time, hip-hop was just entering the mainstream music scene, getting more time on media channels than ever before and gaining in popularity with each and every hit. The Trail Blazers seeing this trend teamed up with Z100 and got off to a good start with 1990’s “Rip City Rhapsody” which featured The Blazer Mercy Mercy Choir, along with Kersey, Porter, and Danny Young – and his glorious mustache
. But that was just the tip of the iceberg. Rip City had returned with that magical run to the 1990 NBA Finals, and it only got bigger form there.
By the time the 90-91 season rolled around, the entire Northwest was at a fever pitch. Expectations were through the roof and nothing less than a championship was acceptable. And heading in the postseason that year, Portland was everybody’s favorite to win it all and they were too hot to be stopped. Fresh off a 16-game winning streak and carrying a league-best 63 wins, another deep playoff run was inevitable. It only seemed natural to put out another record. This time, it was just Kersey and Williams representing the players with a few local musicians on “2 Hot 2 Stop It.” The Schonzisms lingering in the background (also listen closely for some vintage Mike Rice commentary), combined with Jerome’s very 90’s silk shirt
made this Blazers anthem my all-time favorite, but it isn’t as well known today.
By this time the Blazers had released a few cassettes but the “mega-hit” was still missing: Enter Dan Reed and four of the five Trail Blazers starters. The catchy chorus would get stuck in your head for days and easily remembered comedic lyrics made for that iconic song about Rip City. While the Trail Blazers didn’t accomplish their goal of winning a title on the hardwood, if there was an award for best team in the recording studio, Portland wins hands down.
The only downside to “Bust A Bucket” or any Blazers record from that era was the exclusion of Clyde Drexler. The reason for his absence on “Bust A Bucket” was the Nike tie-in. At the time, The Glide was an Avia man and teaming up with a rival shoe company is taboo. But instead of focusing on the negative, let’s talk about the improbable – as in how in the world did they get Buck Williams to rap in a hip-hop song? A fierce competitor on the court, Buck was quiet and reserved off of it. You can tell he’s not particularly comfortable in his role just by listening to the final few seconds of the track. As soon as the spotlight is shined on him (“Let’s hear Buck!”), he awkwardly mumbles a resemblance of “Not me, not me!” off in the distance as the song comes to an end. Maybe he owed a teammate a favor? Knowing Buck, he most likely accepted the role knowing the music sales went to a good cause.
There’s nothing left to say, other than...
“Bust a bucket, who’d a dunk it, Blazer duty, super sunk it, slammin’ geez it, killer threes it, go up-get it-got it-good! / Bust a bucket, bust bust a bucket / Bagga lagga loopa loopa dinga linga scooby booty rooty ready booty ready yabba yabba doo doo / Bust a bucket, bust bust a bucket”