Wild Thing - Tone Loc

Wild Thing – Tone Loc | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: R&B(#3) and Pop(#2); 1989

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Following in the wake of white rappers the Beastie Boys and hip-hopper Bobby Brown, Tone Loc was the next performer to bring the urban-based genre into the suburbs of middle America. Born Anthony Smith in Los Angeles, the singer’s stage alias was derived from his Spanish nickname, Antonio Loco. Signed to Delicious Vinyl, Tone Loc suggested he record one of his own compositions, however, founders Michael Ross and Matt Dike felt Wild Thing was too raunchy for pop ears. So, they called on one of their other artists – USC student Marvin Young – to help out. They caught Marvin hanging out in his dorm room, where he knocked out new lyrics in 30 minutes. In the studio, Ross and Dike wove a sample from Jamie’s Cryin’ by hard rockin’ Van Halen into Wild Thing. Wild Thing and its album, Loc-ed After Dark, both sold over two million copies, and Loc-ed also became the second rap LP – after Bobby Brown’s Don’t Be Cruel – to top the pop list.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Matt Dike
  • Michael Ross

Lyrics Written by:

  • Anthony Terrell Smith
  • Marvin Young
  • Matt Dike
  • Michael Ross


  • Nominated for Best Rap Video at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1989
  • Nominated for three Grammy Awards
  • The song “Wild Thing” was certified Gold by the RIAA