DJ Casper is completely sick of The Cha Cha Slide 23 years after its release
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: Chicago Tonight/YouTube
Picture the scene: You’re at a big party. A wedding, a birthday, a christening, a prom night. You’re tired of trying to act like you know how to dance so you’ve traipsed to the corner to wallow in your lack of sick moves when, all of a sudden you hear it: ‘The Cha Cha Slide’.
It’s a relief many of us have felt before; knowing that all you have to do is follow DJ Casper’s simple instructions and you’ll have the time of your life on the dance floor.
We owe DJ Casper a lot for this kindness, he has saved us all from looking like fools more times than we know.
But the impact of DJ Casper’s hit song probably did a lot more good than you think.
Rise To Fame
Chicago’s DJ Casper, real name Willie Perry Jr, had been making music and DJing since he was a teenager.
He was a natural when it came to laying down funky tracks so, in 1998, when his nephew needed help putting together some steps for his aerobics class, DJ Casper was more than happy to help him out.
He put the lyrics over a sample of an old house song called ‘Plastic Dreams’ by Jaydee, and called it the 'Casper Slide'.
His nephew loved it - and, funny enough, so did DJ Casper. And he decided to bring it to the clubs.
Before he could get the track played, he had to record a new version of the song with a band, since he couldn’t get the rights to use the Jaydee song.
“I went in and grabbed a live band,” he told Gizmodo. “That’s why [in the commercial release], you hear ‘This is something new: the Casper Slide Part 2, featuring the Platinum Band'.”
Mind = Blown.
Once he had that recording under his belt, DJ Casper set off to the clubs to try and get it played - though he didn’t have to try very hard.
“It just spread, it went crazy,” he recalled. “A lot of people are going out to the clubs and can’t dance, so they tend to sit there. But when they hear ‘The Cha Cha Slide’, they’ll get up and try that.”
The song was such a success that people started calling into local radio stations to request it - only the stations had no idea what their listeners were talking about.
Eventually, after a lot of investigating and asking around, Chicago station WGCI-FM managed to track down DJ Casper.
As soon as the track hit airwaves, more and more people started calling in for ‘The Cha Cha Slide’.
“Everything hit all at once, Universal Records contact me, they wanted me to go on a tour and it started getting real crazy,” he told Chicago Tonight.
Before long, the song was a nationwide phenomenon and a video for the song was shot in downtown Chicago.
“We had hundreds and hundreds of people show up for the video shoot, but everybody couldn’t get in,” he told Gizmodo.
About three years after the song’s release in the states, it became an international hit - particularly in the UK.
“When I got off the plane at Heathrow, there were about ten thousand people just waiting, and I was like, ‘Wow. This is some greeting, here’,” he recalled.
The song traveled all the way to China, too, where the song was translated and the music video recreated.
“They had translated it in Chinese, so I was like, ‘Okay, I don’t know how to speak Chinese, so how did they do that?’” he told Chicago Tonight.
In 2004, he released another dance track, ‘Oops Upside Your Head’, which sampled The Gap Band's song of the same name and followed the same formula as ‘The Cha Cha Slide’, giving people simple moves to follow. It wasn’t by any means as successful as ‘The Cha Cha Slide’, but it did okay.
For years, DJ Casper traveled around the world, getting to know new people and sharing his music with them. It was a whirlwind but, as time went on, the hype slowly started to die down and that was the last any of us heard from him for quite some time.
To be fair, when you drop a song as big as ‘The Cha Cha Slide’ you can probably live off of those royalties for quite some time.
Where is he now?
You’ll be glad to know that DJ Casper is still DJing and still Cha Cha Sliding - even though, as you can imagine, he’s pretty tired of the song by now.
“I’ve gotten sick of the song a long time ago. But I don’t get sick of people enjoying themselves,” he told Chicago Tonight.
In recent years, he’s been using the song to raise money for cancer charities, following his own cancer diagnosis in 2016, when the musician was told that he had two forms of cancer - both renal and neuroendocrine.
Speaking on the diagnosis at the time, he told ABC: “Maybe in the process of me going through the cancer situation, that was God's way of just slowing me down just a little bit. But he kept me here for a reason, definitely for a reason.”
Thankfully, in 2019, his cancer was officially in remission.
Now, when he’s not visiting Stroger Cook County Hospital to meet with other men fighting similar health battles, he’s appearing at cancer charity events around Chicago and using ‘The Cha Cha Slide’ to get people involved.
“If you have the disease that they call cancer and you feel that you can get up and do this dance, let's do it because that makes you feel better," he told ABC.
"As long as you're keeping that positive mind like 'hey, we're gonna beat this, I'm gonna win', you know you can do it.”
Told you ‘The Cha Cha Slide’ did more than just save you some embarrassment on the dance floor.
UNILAD has approached representatives for DJ Casper for comment.