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Pump Up the Jam

"Pump Up the Jam" is the opening track on Belgian act Technotronic's album Pump Up the Jam: The Album. Released as a single, it was a worldwide hit, reaching number two in the United Kingdom in 1989 and in the American Billboard Hot 100 in early 1990. The song was later certified triple platinum. It also peaked at number 1 in Belgium, Iceland, Portugal and Spain.

"Pump Up the Jam" has been described as a fusion of hip hop and deep house elements, as an early example of the hip house genre, and it has been named as the first house song to become a hit in the U.S.

Technotronic's vocalist Ya Kid K was initially overshadowed by Congolese model Felly Kilingi, who appears lip-syncing in the music video and was featured on the first album cover as a marketing tactic. By May 2020 the official video at YouTube had received over 170 million views. Ya Kid K was ultimately recognized upon a U.S. tour and a repackaged album cover that featured her instead of Felly. In 2005, the song was remixed by DJ-producer D.O.N.S. and reached number one on the British Dance Chart. The Guardian featured the song on their A history of modern music: Dance in 2011.

Critical reception

AllMusic editor Alex Henderson described the song as "highly infectious" in his review of the album Pump Up the Jam: The Album. Nicole Leedham from The Canberra Times said that "Pump Up the Jam" and "Get Up! (Before the Night Is Over)" were "pushing the envelope of dance music in the late '80s." Complex stated that it "was the first house track to crack into the mainstream", adding it as "the perfect track at the perfect time." In 2018, Insomniac said it's "one of the best dance songs of all time, because—while it should have disappeared in our cultural memory as a sort of punchline or joke or some one-hit wonder—it's still an infinitely playable tune that works in literally any dancefloor context. It doesn't get old, for some reason, and continues to thrive to this day. It's dancefloor perfection." Harry Sumrall from Knight Ridder said the song has "a beat the size of Boston, but Felly also sings with an unstoppable R&B swagger." Bob Stanley from Melody Maker wrote that "not only was it a compelling dance track with a chorus so contagious it could keep you awake at night, it also formed part of the best Top Three in years when it was sandwiched between Black Box and Sidney Youngblood." David Hinckley from New York Daily News described the track as "catchy". The Orlando Sentinel said that "the sound is intoxicating". People Magazine wrote that the song "is so enticing, the production so crisp and precise, that most people would have to put on a straitjacket to keep from bouncing around to the beat." Pop Rescue noted the "phat synth and hi-hats" ushering "in a thumping bass drum." Josh Baines from Vice called it "a towering masterpiece."

Track listings

Multiple versions and re-releases were produced for the "Pump Up the Jam" singles.
  • US/Canada 45 rpm – SBK B-07311 # Pump Up The Jam – 3:36 # Pump Up The Jam (Instrumental) – 3:25

  • 4-track # 7" Version – 3:38 # Vocal Attack – 5:26 # Jam Edit Mix – 4:58 # Original Mix – 5:03

  • 5-track # Tin Tin Out Of the Radio Mix – 3:52 # Dancing Divaz Radio Mix – 3:51 # London Jam – 4:58 # Tin Tin Out Of the Club Mix – 7:16 # Dancing Divaz Master Mix – 5:33

  • 8-track # Dancing Divas Radio Mix – 3:52 # Dancing Divas Master Mix – 5:35 # Sequential One Club Mix – 5:16 # Tin Tin Out Club Mix – 7:17 # Sequential One Radio Mix – 3:36 # Tin Tin Out Radio Mix – 3:52 # Sol Brothers Pumpin Mix – 8:19 # Pulsar Village Mix – 5:52

  • Remixes # U.S. Mix – 6:53 # Sunshine Mix – 4:39 # Hithouse Mix – 7:52 # The Punami Mix – 6:18 # Todd Terry Dome Mix – 5:24 # Top FM Mix – 4:41 # Vocal Attack Mix – 5:22 # B-Room Mix – 4:52

  • The Remixes # U.S. Mix by David Morales – 6:56 # Sunshine Mix by David Morales – 4:41 # Hithouse Mix by Peter "Hithouse" Slaghuis – 7:56 # Top FM Mix by Kevin J. and R. Cue – 4:44 # The Punami Mix by The Wing Command – 6:20 # B-Room Mix by David Morales – 4:53 # Manouche Jazz Remix by The Lost Fingers – 3:49

  • '96 # Tin Tin Out Radio Mix – 3:51 # Sol Brothers Pumpin' Mix – 8:18 # Dancing Divas Mix – 8:12 # Seventies Jam Part 2 – 5:28 # Sol Brothers Deep Vocal Mix – 7:58 # Pulsar Village Mix – 5:50

  • The Sequel # Tin Tin Out Radio Mix – 3:51 # Sequential One Radio Mix – 3:34 # Pulsar Radio Mix – 3:15 # Village Mix – 5:51 # Dancing Divaz Master Mix – 5:34 # Sequential One Club Mix – 5:15

    Accolades

    In 2004, Stylus Magazine writer Nick Southall named the song "Belgium's finest club banger".(*) indicates the list is unordered.

    Charts

    Weekly charts

  • "Pump Up the Jam '96" by Technotronic
  • "Pump Up the Jam" by D.O.N.S. featuring Technotronic
  • "Pump Up the Jam 2005" by D.O.N.S. featuring Technotronic

    Year-end charts

    All-time charts

    Certifications and sales

    M.C. Sar & The Real McCoy version



    In 1989, ZYX records released a cover version of "Pump Up The Jam" by M.C. Sar & The Real McCoy. The single reached number 16 in Germany and number 100 on the Dutch Single Top 100.

    Track listings

    Charts

    Other cover versions

    In 1990, it was parodied with virtually identical music as the German-language Pump ab das Bier ("Pump away the beer!" urging a fellow patron to drink up) by Werner Wichtig, stage name for Raimund Thielcke, who actually had brewer training. Kids Incorporated sang this song on the show's 7th season. In 1992, "Weird Al" Yankovic made a short polka version, which appeared in his medley "Polka Your Eyes Out." The vocal was sampled in the song "Da Pump" by da Tekno Warriors in 1998. It was remixed by Crazy Frog on the 2005 album Crazy Frog Presents Crazy Hits. Dutch techno-trance DJ Sander van Doorn remixed this track in 2006. Quebec acoustic cover band The Lost Fingers recorded a cover of the song on its 2008 album Lost In The 80s. Icelandic band FM Belfast made a slow electronica cover of "Pump Up the Jam." In 2009 the song was interpolated by rapper Pitbull in the song "B-Day Suit". Colombian group Bomba Estéreo released a bilingual cover of the song in 2011, re-titled "Ponte Bomb." The song was covered in 2013 by DJ team Bodybangers.