My quest to track under the beginning of the most persistent recurring hip-hop mim brings me to this chant:

The roof, the roof, the roof is ~ above fireWe don’t need no water, let the motherf***er burn

The chant made its an initial appearance in the hip-hop canon in “The Roof Is on Fire” by Rock grasp Scott & The Dynamic Three, the B-side to their 1984 single “Request Line.” “The Roof Is top top Fire” ended up being way more popular.

You are watching: The roof is on fire song original

The recorded version of “The Roof Is top top Fire” leaves out the mofo line. In 1984 world mostly weren’t utilizing curses in hip-hop recordings, which currently seems charmingly quaint. In live shows, Rock master Scott and also the Dynamic 3 were much less demure, and when castle led the group in the chant, the mofo to be included.

I don’t understand what especially Rock grasp Scott and the Dynamic 3 were introduce to in the chant. I’ve checked out it connected with the 1985 firebombing of MOVE’s headquarters through the Philadelphia police department, though the Dynamic Three tune was created a year earlier. The hymn probably got attached to the MOVE battle after the fact. That wouldn’t it is in the an initial time the hip-hop has channeled political anger into a semi-ironic party slogan.

MC Serch is ~ above fire

I very first heard the hymn in “Here It comes Again” through my favorite white rapper, MC Serch. Hear at 1:21.

Someone lot cooler than me in high school offered this track in a run performance. It’s the mark of a truly powerful meme the the chant has been grounding in my head for much more than fifty percent my life. The various other line the jumps out of my memory after eighteen years is “J-E-L-L-O, ya know?” – hear at 2:15. Ns love this sort of nerdy, cerebral, reference-heavy emceeing. I additionally love early 90s sample-heavy production. Serch is the type of geek that samples the Mahavishnu Orchestra, on his song “Hits The Head.”

Anyway. For a the majority of people, the the strongest association with “the roof is on fire” is P-funk, who like to singing it throughout performances of “Tear The Roof turn off The Sucker.” P-funk’s chant inspired Talking heads to create “Burning under The House.” It also inspired plenty of techno DJs to occupational the chant right into their very own work, including The Orb and Westbam.

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The Bloodhound gang is ~ above fire

When friend Google the phrase “the roof is on fire,” the results are dominated by Bloodhound Gang’s tune “Fire Water Burn,” i beg your pardon I had never heard of prior to researching this post. I find mopey absent interpretations that hip-hop tedious in the extreme. I don’t have any problem through rock musician borrowing ideas from black music; all the good ones carry out that. I simply don’t like the sullen tone. Music should be fun.

Anyway, there space plenty more rock songs the quote the chant:

Songs by Slipknot and Cake — i haven’t identified which details ones since their music renders me sad; knock you yourself out

Other sightings that the roof meme

Tweet called her track “We Don’t need No Water” ~ the chant. The monitor is produced by Missy Elliot, using a sample of “Mango Meat” by Mandrill. Hip!

“In Da Club” by 50 Cent quotes the chant also — listen at 2:54:

In “The Roof Is top top Fire” Bizzy Bone describes the hymn amusingly together “the old black spiritual.”