We talk about one-hit wonders ad nauseum during our occasional “What Ever Happened to…” pow-wows, but sometimes I wonder – is it really that bad to be given that dreaded label?
Success might be short lived and you could be moving back in with your momma soon after the spotlight fades but I think it would be pretty cool to be forever synonymous with a song.
Unless you were getting your Helen Keller on in 1996, if you hear the name Gina Thompson, you are required by hip hop law to either sing “Da things you dooooooooooo” or to recite Missy Elliott’s infamous battle cry. I don’t think that’s a bad legacy. Let’s reminisce.
Lugenia Thompson (um, let’s stick with Gina…) grew up with a love of singing in Vineland, New Jersey. After gaining a record deal in the mid-90s, she had the great fortune to work with producers Rodney Jerkins, Stevie J and Puff Daddy on her 1996 debut, Nobody Does It Better on Mercury Records. An unknown like Gina working with Puffy in the 90s is comparable to Kanye West producing my debut song. She couldn’t have asked for a better platform. Puff tapped another emerging artist, Missy Elliott, to appear on the remix to Gina’s first single and magic was made:
Let’s be real, Gina won’t be singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. But “The Things You Do Remix” is a perfect breezy, summertime video: a catchy beat, cameos from Puffy and Biggie, and one of the greatest lines of the mid 90s:
“HEE HEE HEE HEE HOW HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HOW!”
Only Missy could make something so stupid so iconic.
Although Nobody Does It Better initially didn’t chart, the success of “The Things You Do Remix” eventually pushed the album to platinum sales.
As we’ve seen in past “What Ever Happened to…” columns, once an artist breaks out, he or she usually floods the market with follow-ups. That wasn’t the case for Gina. She never released an official second single and besides a couple of random soundtrack appearances she was very quiet.
Gina finally resurfaced in 1999, now a part of Missy Elliott’s Goldmine records. Her comeback single, “Ya Di Da,” was met with yawns. The poor reception of that song and the follow up “Caught Up” (a track I don’t even remember) caused Gina’s second album to be shelved. If You Only Knew became a sadly accurate title. Fear not, Gina fans – you can find most of the tracks on Youtube. “Up All Night” with Jon B is OK.
I still don’t agree with the decision to trash the album – “Ya Di Da” was pretty pedestrian but it did chart (peaking at #38 on the R&B boards) and there were MUCH WORSE songs released that year. My main beef is with that album cover. – did she trip over the camera before taking that shot? Gina asked to be released from her contract (and probably some crutches) soon afterward.
Following the “Ya Di Da” fiasco, I assumed Gina went back to her momma’s house in New Jersey to live her out days. But no, Gina actually released an album a few years ago. By the looks of that album cover, somehow along the way she swapped bodies with Tiffany “New York” Pollard.
Missing You consists of 12 tracks, nine of which are remixes to the first song.
Yes, she released an album with 3 songs and NINE REMIXES!
The Dancehall remix seems to have been the official single – and it’s no prize, sounding like something Pitbull belched out during Sunday dinner. Click here to watch a bunch of weird, half-naked virtual babies dancing to the track. Is that what’s hot in the streets, Gina? Half naked dancing babies? I checked out the hip-hop remix but it was as dull as Drake hosting Masterpiece Theater. I didn’t bother listening to the 97 other remixes. Someone let me know if the Sour Cream and Onion Remix or the Balki Bartokomous Perfect Strangers Remix is worth my time. Gina parted ways with her new label Blue Mountain Records/Sunset Urban Records and I can’t blame her.
Should She Come Back?: Nuh uh. Poor Gina, things just haven’t worked out well for her since Missy HEE HEE HEE HEE HAW’d her to fame. As I said earlier, sometimes an artist is better of basking in past success. Gina might be a one-hit wonder, but she did have one hit.