Rita Wilson And Naughty By Nature On Remixing "Hip Hop Hooray" For Charity Rita Wilson and Naughty by Nature have collaborated on a remix of the group's hit "Hip Hop Hooray." The proceeds of the song will go to a charity that is helping musicians affected by the coronavirus.

Rita Wilson And Naughty By Nature On Remixing 'Hip Hop Hooray' For Charity

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Finally today, poetry of a different sort to end our program.


RITA WILSON: (Rapping) Triggers from the Grilltown, Illtown, some ask how it feels now. The deal is that we're real, so we're still 'round. Don't lamp with the freestyle phantom, ain't trying to - handsome - shrinking what you're thinking 'cause I'm vamping. I mean, that is - just feels good in your mouth to say, you know (laughter).

GJELTEN: That's actress and singer Rita Wilson. We'll get to the rap in a second. But remember, last month, Wilson and her husband Tom Hanks announced on Instagram that they'd been diagnosed with COVID-19. They were some of the first public figures to announce they'd caught the novel coronavirus.

WILSON: We were thankful that it - that message, or us posting about having it, was actually a positive thing in terms of people taking it seriously.

GJELTEN: Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks were in Australia when they became ill. They had to quarantine there before they could return to the United States. And, like many of us who've been stuck at home during this pandemic, Wilson decided she needed to do something to help herself from going quarantine crazy. That's when she started recalling the lyrics to a song she had learned for her role in the movie "Boy Genius" last year.


WILSON: (As Mary Locke, rapping) You drew a picture of my morning, but you couldn't make my day. I'm rocking and you're yawning, but you never look my way.

GJELTEN: Doing what she called a brain exercise, Wilson recorded herself rapping every line of Naughty by Nature's 1992 hit song "Hip Hop Hooray."


WILSON: (Rapping) This is hip-hop for today. I give props to hip-hop, so hip-hop hooray, ho, hey.

GJELTEN: And she posted her home video to Instagram for the world to see.

WILSON: I thought, well, I'm either going to get completely trashed for this and people will think it's insane, and Naughty By Nature will be, like, trolling me on the Internet. I really didn't know. But I did have a moment of, like, here goes, when I pushed send.

GJELTEN: That video, captioned Quarantine Stir Crazy See It To Believe It, became a viral hit, almost 2 million views. It even caught the attention of one particularly famous Instagram user.

WILSON: President Barack Obama (laughter). I think he said something like, Rita drops the mic.


WILSON: (Rapping) You said, I know you, Mr. OPP man, yo, PP man, won't only see me man.

VIN ROCK: I watched and went to the page. And I saw Rita just spitting the lyrics. And she was killing it. So everyone was like, wow, she's really doing it. And then, you know, our fans, most of our fans, they were like, we don't even know the lyrics like that. You know, like, how did she learn that?

GJELTEN: That's Vincent Brown aka Vin Rock, one of the three members of Naughty by Nature.

VIN ROCK: To have our song "Hip Hop Hooray" affiliated with it, with such Hollywood icons like Rita and Tom affiliated, it's, you know, for us a blessing.

GJELTEN: After seeing Wilson's viral video and admiring her rhyming abilities, the Naughty by Nature trio decided to team up with the actress to produce an official remix of their '90s hip-hop classic featuring Wilson's vocals.


NAUGHTY BY NATURE: (Rapping) You heard a lot about a brother gaining mo ground, being low down, I do the showdown with any little ho round. No, I want to know who you believe in through your funny reasons. Even when I'm sleeping, you think I'm cheating.

WILSON: (Rapping) You said, I know you, Mr. OPP man, yo, PP man, won't only see me man.

GJELTEN: The song was released friday. Proceeds from the remix will go to the MusiCares Foundation's COVID-19 Relief Fund. It was set up to help music industry professionals who've been affected by the coronavirus and by the cancellation of tours and shows.

VIN ROCK: It's one thing for the artists themselves, but that whole back-end support crew, I mean, they're devastated right now.

WILSON: People who drive trucks, people who are working in tours, the caterers, the ticket-takers, the people that work at the venues. And then you have all of these musicians and people who can't be working.

GJELTEN: Vin Rock says teaming up with Wilson was a no-brainer. And though the song is almost three decades old, he says its message is relevant today.

VIN ROCK: I feel like "Hip Hop Hooray," I always called it the unofficial hip-hop anthem because it's just so inclusive. And it's a feel-good song. So in these times, you know, we need something to uplift the people.

GJELTEN: Wilson says if you'd told her just a few weeks ago that she'd go viral with a rap video, she wouldn't have believed it. But lots has changed since then, and she hopes her and her husband's experience can offer hope to others right now.

WILSON: We'll get through this, but it is a very different time. So there are going to be people hurting out there, and we just got to be aware of it and do the best that we can and help where we can.

GJELTEN: Rita Wilson and Vin Rock of Naughty by Nature. Their new remix of "Hip Hop Hooray" is available for streaming and download now.


NAUGHTY BY NATURE: (Rapping) Hip-hop, hip-hop, hip-hop hop, hooray. There's many hungry hip-hoppers, one reason hip-hop's tip-top today. Swerve what you heard 'cause I ain't bailing no hay, ain't chopping no crops, but still growing every day.

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