"White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)" is a hip-hop-funk 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 bassline is sampled from a performance of the Sugar Hill house band (featuring bassist Doug Wimbish) covering "Cavern", a single by post-punk band Liquid Liquid.
When originally released on Sugarhill, the record was credited to Grandmaster & Melle Mel (some international issues even credited Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel). This was done to mislead the general public into believing that Grandmaster Flash participated on the record, when in fact he played no part and had already left the Sugar Hill Records label the previous year.
"White Lines" peaked at No. 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 1984, spending 17 consecutive weeks in the top 40. It was the 13th best-selling single of 1984 in the UK, selling more than several number one hits that year.
The song was co-written by Melle Mel and Sylvia Robinson. Originally, it 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.
The lines "A businessman is caught with 24 kilos / He's out on bail and out of jail and that's the way it goes" refers to car manufacturer John DeLorean, who in 1982 became entrapped in a scheme to save his company from bankruptcy using drug money. Some of the lyrics in "White Lines" ("something of a phenomenon") echoed lyrics from the song "Cavern" by Liquid Liquid ("slipping in and out of phenomenon") from which the famous bassline was borrowed.
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