Us3 is a British jazz-rap group founded in London in 1992. Their name was inspired by a Horace Parlan recording produced by Alfred Lion, the founder of Blue Note Records. On their debut album, Hand on the Torch, Us3 exclusively used samples from the Blue Note Records catalogue, all originally produced by Lion.
London’s Kiss FM added “The Band Played The Boogie” to its playlist and Wilkinson received a call summoning him to EMI Records’s offices in London. Wilkinson avoided a lawsuit and was granted rights to the archives of Blue Note Records. One of the resulting demos, recorded in March 1992, was “Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)”, featuring UK trumpeter Gerard Presencer. It sampled Herbie Hancock’s Cantaloupe Island. Two years later, it entered the US top ten and was included on Hand on the Torch, the first Blue Note album to achieve Platinum status (1,000,000 sales) in the USA.
“Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)” was originally released in October 1992 as the lead single from their debut album Hand on the Torch.
The song was recorded as a demo a year before the group’s first release and features a sample of Herbie Hancock’s song “Cantaloupe Island”. It did not chart in their native UK, but in the US, “Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia)” reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the group’s only top 40 single. It was subsequently re-released in UK where it peaked at No. 23.
“Cantaloop” was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on March 25, 1994 for selling over 500,000 copies.