Tic Tac Toe
February 3, 2018
Todd plays "Tic-Tac-Toe" on the piano
KYPER - TIC-TAC-TOE
A one-hit wonder retrospective
Todd: Welcome back to One Hit Wonderland, where we take a look at bands and artists known for only one song. And I will admit, One Hit Wonderland is set up...
(A collage of shots showing various one-hit wonder artists)Todd (VO): ...mostly to explore the one-hit wonders that people still remember, not the ones...
Todd: ...who even their one song got forgotten. But every so often, I feel like reminding everyone that, not every one-hit wonder stands the test of time. So, why don't we take a moment to explore this piece of ephemera I've picked up today, which... I just want to assure people that, yes, was in fact a real thing.
(Video for "Tic-Tac-Toe" plays while Todd just dances along)
Kyper: X, and O
It's like yes, and no
Tic Tac ToeTodd (VO): This guy is named, Kyper. And this song is called "Tic-Tac-Toe". Yes, it was a hit; it reached number 14 in the autumn of 1990. And yes it's about tic-tac-toe. Yes that's a metaphor for sex. Yes, it samples (Logo for the band...) Yes. (Video for "Owner of a Lonely Heart" by Yes) That is in fact a sample of "Owner of a Lonely Heart" by the band Yes. (Portion of the song plays briefly).
Todd: And what else do I know about this song? Not a goddamn thing!
Kyper: Tic-Tac-Toe is a game I used to play
When I little, I used...Todd (VO): I've certainly never heard it played anywhere I'm, guessing almost none of you have either. I don't even remember how I came across it. But once I did hear it, I've never forgotten it.
Todd: I'm honestly just, kinda, doing this for the episode as an experiment. To see if I can get an entire video out of someone this obscure.
Todd (VO): Cause, there's no interviews with the guy, not a lot of footage out there; I am flying blind folks.
Todd: But hey; if you like really uncreative sampling such as was popular in the 90s,...
Todd (VO): ....really basic rhyme flows and, sweet, sweet dance moves, well I've got just the song for you.
Kyper: ...and no, tic-tac-toeTodd: Let's play some tic-tac-toe everyone. Centre square for the win!
Kyper: Do you wanna play? (Tic-Tac-Toe)Before The Hit
Todd: Ok, let's see what little we have to go on here.
Todd (VO): Ok, the dude's real name is Randall Kiper, with an I. He changed it to a Y for that extra 90's edge, I guess. He comes from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, thus starting a proud tradition of Baton Rouge hip hop, like...
Todd: ...um...Hurricane Chris
Clip of Hurricane Chris - A Bay Bay
Hurricane Chris: A Bay Bay, A Bay Bay, A Bay Bay, A Bay Bay, A Bay Bay, I'm in the club hollerin'Todd: Speaking of one-hit wonders nobody remembers.
Todd (VO): Yeah, and also Lil' Boosie and Kevin Gates, don't @ me.
Todd: Now, let's check Kyper out, this is one of his early singles, called "Life is Hard."
Clip of "Life is Hard"
Kyper: Life is hard, Born in this world without a doubt, Growin' up not known what life's all about, You take the change with the strain manipulate your brain, Because the things in life never stay the sameTodd (VO): Ok, I guess this is some...this is some old school Ice-T kind of hip hop here. It's pretty primitive sounding today, but I guess it has its charm.
Todd: Well, let's see what else he has.
Clip of "Throw Down"
Kyper: Everybody on the floor, Listen to the beat like never before, Shake your pants, romance, discotechTodd (VO): Man, this is some breakdance music! I feel like pop 'n lockin'.
Kyper: I know it's been a while since you had it good, I'm gonna do it to ya baby like I know I should, forget your worriesTodd: [does the robot] I have no idea what i'm doing. Am I popping or locking? Okay, but this is some good stuff, actually. I don't think hip hop is quite the word for this. What is this actually?
Clip from Shaun of the Dead
Ed: It's not hip hop, it's electro, prick.Todd: Yeah, yeah, right, electro!
Todd (VO): It was more like dance music than hip hop, it was heavy on the 808's, not a whole lot of emphasis on the actual rapping. I'm feeling this, what else did he have?
Todd: Okay, this one's called "What Gets Your Body Hyped (XTC)." A tribute to British 80's rock band XTC, I presume. My copy of their Skylarking album does indeed get my body hyped. No, it's about drugs obviously, play that shit!
Clip of "What Gets Your Body Hyped (XTC)"
Kyper: It ain't like cocaine and it ain't like marijuana, You say you like to dance, well baby you're gonna, What gets your body hyped, XTC, XTC, What makes you dance all night, XTC, XTCTodd (VO): Ok, it's clear to me that Kyper's true calling was not in the hard hip hop stuff about the streets or anything. This isn't Rakim, obviously. I guess he's an MC, but in the really really old school sense, like back in the days when all the MC did was keep the beat moving for the DJ. Kyper's clearly more of a producer, dropping those slammin' grooves.
Todd: Ok, but electro was more like an early 80's thing, right? I don't know if it was still big by 1989.
Todd (VO): But even if it was still big, it was clearly on its way out, as the first wave of new school hip hop was well underway by this point.
Todd: I'm guessing Kyper was already behind the times, and that he knew he needed to update his sound.
The Big Hit
The Failed Follow Up
Did He Ever Do Anything Else?
Did He Deserve Better?
Transcript in Progress