Memories of… “Boom! Shake the Room”

Few things can trigger a long lost memory like music. It can happen anywhere.  For me it usually happens in the car. The other day, I was driving to work and flipping channels on the satellite radio. I stopped on the Old School Hip Hop channel. They were playing a horrible song from the 90’s, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s “Boom! Shake The Room”.

I was immediately taken back to December 17th, 1997.  I was living in Ames, Iowa and was taking my wife (then girlfriend) Jess to her first Prince concert. We were pumped up for days leading up to the show.  To make things more exciting we heard a rumor that Prince was hosting an after party at a local bar. Being huge Prince fans we were beside ourselves that we may have an opportunity to see The Purple One up close and personal. We decided to play it by ear and hope the rumors were true.

The concert was awesome. We had decent seats and he played mostly hits (there are a lot) and didn’t play too many songs from the new record at the time Emancipation. I even bought this  super cool hockey jersey featuring the logo of Prince’s band The New Power Generation. By the 2nd encore we had pretty much given up on any sort of post show party and were both ready to head home. That’s when I spotted a guy handing out flyers  advertising an after concert party for some charity I don’t remember.  Prince was actually going to be there!  Now I know you’re asking yourself , “Where in Ames, Iowa was Prince going to host a party?”  Well Ames’ premier cowboy bar, Hunky Dory’s, of course. That’s right, Hunky Dory’s.

We hurried over to Hunky’s as fast as possible. Most of the trip I had my head out the side window because the windshield was frosted over from the December cold. When we got there the line wasn’t too long so we got in early enough to grab some booze and score a table near the roped off VIP section. Then we waited. And waited. And waited…

We amused ourselves by watching the people on the dance floor.  This was a cowboy bar remember so the DJ had a very limited hip hop or dance music collection. The crowd reaction to these random outdated dance songs was entertaining to say the least.

Finally, Prince arrived looking almost exactly like he did in this picture. Security took him immediately over to the VIP section which was about 20 feet from us. I couldn’t believe it.  Jess and I had been so excited about getting to the party that we didn’t really discuss what we would do when Prince actually showed up.  This is the point in the story where my wife and I disagree about the evening’s finer details. She claims that I hid behind a nearby popcorn machine upon Prince’s arrival because I was scared. My claim is that I didn’t want to be a Prince Fan Boy and rush up to stare at him like all the girls. From the best of my recollection this was our exchange:

Jess: Well? Are we going over?

A Star Struck Me: Uhhhh…

Jess: Really? Fuck you, I’m going over there.

A Deflated Me: Wuh?

So she went by herself. I watched her walk over (looking extra cute in MY newly purchased super sweet NPG hockey jersey) and somehow made her way to the front of the pack of adoring women. She was less than a foot away from my music idol. Prince ignored the hoard of other girls, looked right down at her and smiled. I was so proud. Prince thinks my girlfriend is hot!  My pride quickly turned to panic as I remembered Prince’s taste in women was exactly like mine.

Prince’s appetite for hot brunettes is well documented.  Apollonia, Vanity, Mayte, Sheila E and Carmen Electra have all been linked to the Purple One. The only aberration I’ve ever heard about was blonde bombshell Kim Basinger. They met during the filming of Tim Burton’s first Batman movie for which Prince provided the soundtrack. He pulled the cool musician move where you bring the hot movie starlet into the studio and let her make an album with you.  They recorded The Scandalous Sex Suite EP  together and she promptly moved  into his Paisley Park mansion/studio.

If you believe the Prince folklore, she stayed there as girlfriend/prisoner for a few months until she could take the weirdness no longer. She left in the dead of night leaving behind her dignity and her BMW.

Well, I wasn’t going to stand for that shit. My future bride would not be joining that long list of discarded brunettes. To quote The Joker from the previously mentioned Batman movie “Never rub another man’s rhubarb!”  I stood up about to take action when DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince’s song “Boom! Shake the Room” came over the sound system. A look of disgust washed over Prince’s face. Honestly, he looked like he had just stepped in dog shit. He quickly had a lackey take a stack of CDs to the DJ and ordered him to play music from that stack only. With his attention pulled away from Jess, Prince moved on to more pressing business. Like ignoring everyone in the bar.

So thank you DJ Jazzy Jeff. Thank you Will Smith.  Prince’s distaste for your awful song saved my future marriage.

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