White Lines (3:08)

Cover of Bad Boy Joe Presents: Old School Clubhouse

From Bad Boy Joe Presents: Old School Clubhouse and 9 other releases

“White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)” is a song by Grandmaster Melle Mel, released as a 12” in 1983 on Sugar Hill Records. The song, which warns against the dangers of cocaine, addiction, and drug smuggling, is one of Melle Mel’s signature tracks. The instantly recognizable bassline is sampled from a performance of the Sugar Hill house band playing Liquid Liquid’s “Cavern”. When originally released it was credited to Grandmaster + Melle Mel. This was done to mislead the public into believing that Grandmaster Flash participated on the record, when in fact he played no part and had already left the record label the previous year.

Originally, the song was intended to be an ironic celebration of a cocaine-fueled party lifestyle, but it was abridged with the “don’t do it” message as an anti-cocaine song as a concession to commercial considerations.

“White Lines” peaked at #47 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart in 1983. The song fared better in the United Kingdom, reaching number 7 on the UK Singles Chart in July of 1984, spending 17 consecutive weeks in the top-40. It was the 13th best-selling single of 1984 in the UK, selling more than a number of number one hits that year.

An unofficial music video was directed by New York University film student Spike Lee and starred Laurence Fishburne.


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