Bobby Harris and Dazz Band had broken out of Cleveland, Ohio, in the late 1970s, scoring a recording contract with Motown Records. While the group's first two albums did respectable business, the third time was indeed the charm with the release of third album, Keep It Live (1982).
The kicker was opening track, "Let It Whip." Released on February 12, 1982, the funky dance-floor scorcher lit up discos and nightclubs across the country. It would fly up the charts, peaking at #1 for more than a month on the R&B charts, and even getting as high as #5 on the Hot 100 on July 17, 1982. The #1 song in America that week: "Don't You Want Me" by the Human League.
The song was more than just a chart hit: "Let It Whip" would win the Grammy for Best R&B Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1983.
“We wanted to create a song that they could make a dance out of,” the song's co-writer Leon “Ndugu” Chancler said in The Billboard Book of Number One Rhythm & Blues Hits. “A song that was different in that it would be something that no one had ever really talked about on a record. What kind of lyric content could we talk about that could end up being a dance? And (co-writer) Reggie (Andrews) came up with the idea of a whip.”