Best-known for his 1988 platinum hip-hop classic "It Takes Two," Rob Base (with DJ E-Z Rock) rode his hit onto R&B radio stations as well as dance clubs, providing a touchstone for the style known as hip-house. After leaping several hurdles -- vicious rumors about his personal life plus the legal action of Maze's Frankie Beverly after Base sampled Maze on his hit "Joy and Pain" -- he responded in 1989 with The Incredible Base. None of the singles on his second album had the force of "It Takes Two," however, and Rob Base was largely forgotten several years later.
Born Robert Ginyard in Harlem, Rob Base began performing with a group called the Sureshot Seven while in fifth grade. By the time of high school graduation, the only members left were him and DJ E-Z Rock (b. Rodney Bryce, Harlem, NY), so the duo began recording. Their first single, "DJ Interview," appeared on the World to World label, and they gained a distribution deal with Profile by 1987. The first Profile release, the title-track single from their debut album, It Takes Two, became a street sensation upon its release in mid-1988. Though the single just barely reached the R&B Top 20 and Pop Top 40, massive club airplay enhanced its impact considerably. Both the single and album eventually went platinum, and Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock gained Single of the Year honors both in Spin and The Village Voice. The second single, "Get on the Dance Floor," continued Base's dance appeal, though his excellent rapping helped him retain his street credentials. By the end of 1989, however, Rob Base was on his own; his only explanation for the disappearance of DJ E-Z Rock was "personal problems." The release of The Incredible Base in 1989 was a bit of a comedown; despite several interesting tracks -- including a reworking of Edwin Starr's "War" -- neither the album nor any singles connected with listeners. ~ John Bush, Rovi