Montell Jordan on ‘This Is How You Do It,’ 20 Years Later

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Billy Johnson Jr.
·Senior Editor
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Even though Montell Jordan’s days as a Def Jam Records hip-hop singer who recorded songs about partying and having a good time are behind him – he is now a music pastor – he doesn’t mind performing some of the tracks from his catalog; especially his 1995 chart-topping breakthrough record, “This Is How We Do It.”

"I have done the song at certain [church] events," Jordan tells Yahoo Music. "It’s a song that brings joy, but I have to flip a couple of the lyrics because I don’t drink 40s anymore."

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(photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Dove Awards)

The song, which celebrates its 20th anniversary on February 6, is featured in a new Pepsi and Buffalo Wild Wings “Hyped for Halftime” campaign that involved Jordan surprising Buffalo Wild Wings patrons with an in-restaurant performance of the song.

Jordan says it took some time for him to hone the hip-hop-meets-R&B styling that prompted former Def Jam head Russell Simmons to dub him his “rap singer.”

"I had to carve out a path for myself that was a little different," Jordan says about his days prior to joining Def Jam Records. "I was listening to Guy. R. Kelly had just came out. I loved Luther Vandross and Michael Jackson. I was trying to determine what my voice was, and I found myself sounding like other artists. I started writing hip-hop lyrics and singing them. I got signed as a ‘rap singer.’"

"This Is How We Do It" was the last song Jordan recorded for his debut album of the same name. It was so obvious that the song (which samples Slick Rick’s "Children’s Story") would be a hit that everyone – except Russell Simmons – thought it should be his first release. According to Jordan, Simmons thought Jordan should make his introduction with another song and build up to “This Is How We Do It.”

"But everybody said, ‘He’s a new artist. All the DJs are gravitating to ‘This Is How We Do It.’ And we all kinda agreed that ‘This Is How We Do It’ was our best choice. It was Def Jam’s first No. 1. But it did overshadow all the other songs we tried to release off that album."

Even though Jordan and Slick Rick were labelmates, they did not meet until after the song had become a hit. “The first time I actually met Slick face to face, the album had come and gone to No. 1. Slick, at the time, was incarcerated. It wasn’t until I was preparing my second album that I asked the label when he got out if he would be featured on my song ‘I Like.’ I met him for the very first time on the set of the video for ‘I Like.’

"He stepped into my trailer and said, ‘I love what you did for the song,’" Jordan remembers. "It breathed more life back into his career. He had a hit record, and I took it and made it into a classic. Twenty years later we are bringing it to Pepsi and Buffalo Wild Wings. It shows how some songs transcend time."

Jordan said he never gets tired of singing the song that was featured during a party scene in the new Lifetime movie Whitney. “‘This Is How We Do It’ is so much fun,” he says. “It would be hard to say I get tired of singing and hearing the song. It’s been a staple, a part of the soundtrack to people’s lives; people remember their 1995 graduation or wedding dance. I get to be a part of that. I love the idea that my song transcends R&B, hip-hop. It transcends color. It transcends age brackets. I would be a fool not to want to hear that song.”

Jordan and his wife Kristin Hudson, who celebrated their 20-year anniversary last June, are preparing to release their book, This Is How We Do It, Making Your Marriage a Master Peace. Jordan says the couple, who have four children, changed their priorities for the sake of their union.

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(photo: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for Gospel Music Association)

"The marriages I saw didn’t survive," Jordan says. "I watched families break up. I watched families destroyed because the business has a side to it that’s not exactly family-friendly. What we did to sustain four kids and 20 years is, we placed our trust in God and in each other over our career aspirations, and we didn’t do that early in our careers. We had to make a decision: What’s more important, fame or career, or the covenant that we made together? Once we started looking at our marriage as a covenant, you don’t break a covenant. You don’t do it. It is a blood-binding agreement. We didn’t want to be like other couples and marriages. That’s what we set out to do and everything turned for us."

In 2010, Jordan became a worship pastor for Victory World Church in Norcross, Georgia.

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