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‘Whoomp! (There It Is)’ Still Makes $500,000 a Year

The song has been called both the best, and the worst of the 90's, spending seven weeks at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1993 and appeas frequently at both sporting events, and parodies

If you were even partially sentient in the 1990s, you probably remember the song “Whoomp! (There It Is!).” If you need a refresher, whoomp, here it is:

The song has been called both the best and the worst of the 90s, spending seven weeks at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1993 and appeas frequently at both sporting events, and parodies. But perhaps the most surprising fact about “Whoomp! (There It Is),” is not that it became famous in the first place, but just how much the song still makes its creators, DC the Brain Supreme and Steve Rolln. Deep within a long interview about the song with 5280 Magazine is this line:

The song generates up to $500,000 in a good year, which is divvied up among the rights-holders and lawyers; DC and Steve might collect up to $70,000 each, DC says.

That’s the kind of money that Drake and Kanye West brag about in their lyrics, going to two rappers that burst onto the scene in 1993 and then faded just as quickly. How is it possible for a song that spent just seven weeks at #2 in 1993, and that everyone agrees is not really all that good, to have such a long shelf life? If you had to point to a single answer, that would probably be Will Ferrel. Here’s 5280 Magazine again:

But in 2003, the actor Will Ferrell danced to “Whoomp!” in a scene for the movie Elf. DC didn’t know the song had been picked up for the movie until he was sitting in a theater. “All of a sudden, the song comes on and I smile, because a check will soon be coming to my mailbox,” he says. The movie scored big—and just like that, “Whoomp!” was a thing again. The song showed up in three movies the next year—including the Will Smith-Robert De Niro animated flick, Shark Tale—then it started getting dropped into television shows, like “South Park” and “Scrubs.” Money rolled in again. Ten thousand here, 20 thousand there.

Suddenly, DC and Steve were on the road again, traveling to corporate events and other small gigs where they’d make $5,000 a show. The song then showed up in an AT&T iPhone commercial, and ads for Luvs diapers in which a baby poops to the song “Poop! (There It Is).” There won’t be any new music from DC and Steve any time soon, they say, and while it’s nice to make good money off a song from 1993, they’re both certainly feeling that one-hit-wonder curse. Whenever it comes on, they know a check is coming, but they’re also a little ready for it the song to end.

More from Smithsonian.com:

Dinosaur Stampede, the Musical
American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music

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About Rose Eveleth
Rose Eveleth

Rose Eveleth is a writer for Smart News and a producer/designer/ science writer/ animator based in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Scientific American, Story Collider, TED-Ed and OnEarth.

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