Fu-Schnickens – ‘La Schmoove': Throwback Video of the Day
Complete with colorful baggy outfits, graffiti, rapid-fire fast rapping and a lot of jumping around, Fu-Schnickens' "La Schmoove" is one of the most distinctive hip-hop videos of the early '90s.
The often comical group, which consisted of Moc Fu, Poc Fu, and Chip Fu, hailed from East Flatbush, Brooklyn, and met on the campus of Howard University. Fu-Schnickens (which means "for unity" and "coalition," although the group admitted "schnickens" is an entirely made up word) is largely credited with being among one of the first rap acts to celebrate Asian culture in hip-hop, years before Wu-Tang entered the scene in 1994.
While Fu-Schnickens success was relatively short-lived—they'd faded into obscurity by 1994, when their follow-up album, Nervous Breakdown was released— their influence was impactful. Mainly as alternative hip-hop groups rose to prominence in the early '90s on the backs for groups like De La Soul, Das EFX and frequent collaborators, A Tribe Called Quest. Fu-Schnickens embraced an even more playful, silly side of the music than the aforementioned groups, which was illustrated in their videos.
The visual for "La Schmoove" dropped in April 1992, the second single from their debut album, F.U. Don't Take It Personal, which arrived February that same year. The album was eventually certified gold in 1992, peaking at no. 64 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Following the success of their debut dancehall-tinged single, "Ring the Alarm," the animated group's second release featured a memorable verse from A Tribe Called Quest's Phife Dawg (Tribe is credited as producers on Fu-Schnickens' debut album as well as on the song). Phife's verse is still largely considered to be among his most notable lyrical outings, making the song one of the markers of early 90s alternative rap.
"Now here I go, once again with the ill flow/Other MCs that rap, their style is so-so/Phife Dawg was never the type that ever lacked skills/I just stay true to my roots and then I get ill," he raps on the track.
"La Schmoove" went on to hit no. 3 on the U.S. Rap Singles Chart and a portion of the track can be heard in the Michael Douglas thriller, Falling Down. The song paved the way for the big success of Fu-Schnickens' next major single, 1993's "What's up, Doc? (Can We Rock)" which featured new NBA star Shaquille O'Neal, who hilariously (if not regrettably) referred to himself as Shaq-Fu for the track.
As for the "La Schmoove" video itself, it was a Yo! MTV Raps staple, and it's pretty much everything you'd expect a fun rap video in 1992 with very bright colors, Fresh Prince-esque "Parent's Just Don't Understand" graffiti in the background, a lot of hopping around, and some very diligent rap hand movements happening as the group performs for an energetic crowd.
Fu-Schnickens didn't have a lengthy career, but they made an impact on early 90s rap, as evidenced by one of their standout singles and videos, "La Schmoove."