Kid Creole And The Coconuts – Me No Pop I

29th November 2023 · 1980, 1980s, Music

Kid Creole and the Coconuts were a breath of fresh air when they came along at the start of a new decade with their zoot suits and Panama hats and spats – and their tropical take on disco.

Their two principals were Thomas Browder (aka ‘August Darnell’), an English teacher and big band enthusiast from the Bronx, and Andy Hernandez (aka ‘Sugarcoated Andy’), a Puerto Rican percussionist and vibraphone player from Spanish Harlem.

They had already enjoyed success in Dr Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band when they formed a new outfit, renaming themselves Kid Creole and Coati Mundi, with a three-girl backing group called The Coconuts.

Their hybrid of Latin rhythms and dance music had a comic element in songs like Mister Softee (a self-deprecating take on impotence) and their first hit, Me No Pop I, featuring Coati Mundi’s Latin rap and the catchy call-and-response chorus: “Me No Pop I – You No Olive Oyl”.

Take a close look at this video shot in Washington Square Park – one of those kids in the playground back in 1980 is a young Leonardo Di Caprio!

With Darnell as front man and Hernandez as musical director and arranger, Kid Creole and the Coconuts hit big in the UK with their third album Tropical Gangsters, spawning the hit singles Stool Pigeon, I’m A Wonderful Thing, Baby and Annie, I’m Not Your Daddy.

Hernandez once said in an interview, “I have never let the lack of talent stop me from doing anything” – an attitude that later earned him employment as a string arranger at RCA Records despite not knowing a thing about string arrangements. He taught himself out of a book.

In 1983 he released a solo album titled Little Coati Mundi The Former 12 Year Old Genius Mundi which contained a version of Captain Beefheart’s Tropical Hot Dog Night featuring salsa singer Rubén Blades.

Turning to acting, he made several appearances on the TV show Miami Vice (including an episode alongside Bruce Willis and Benicio del Toro) and played an actor in the film Who’s That Girl with Madonna and Griffin Dunne, as well as several Spike Lee films including Mo Better Blues.