The Loaded History Behind Flo Rida’s “I Cry”

In late 2012, Flo Rida’s single “I Cry” became his ninth song to enter the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. Although it did not reach No. 1 like his songs “Low” featuring T-Pain, “Whistle,” or “Right Round,” its No. 6 peak was indicative of how resourceful and imaginative Flo Rida always ways when making pop-rap hits.

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Much like the aforementioned “Right Round,” the track’s hook heavily interpolates a previous hit but also incorporates Flo Rida’s signature flair on the vocals. What is truly unique about the track is that the song it takes inspiration from also interpolates the hook of an even earlier song. Here is the loaded history behind “I Cry.”

Bingo Players’ “Cry (Just a Little)”

If you check the production credits for “I Cry,” you’ll see the names Maarten Hoogstraten and Paul Bäumer. Hoogstraten and Bäumer made up the Dutch DJ duo Bingo Players, who specialized in dance/club music. In May 2011, Bingo Players released their single “Cry (Just a Little),” which uses the same instrumental Flo Rida employs on “I Cry.”

For the song’s vocals, Bingo Players recruited British vocalist Kelli-Leigh, whose hook on “Cry (Just a Little)” is also employed by Flo Rida for “I Cry.”

Oh no, caught up in the middle
I cry just a little when I think of letting go
Oh no, gave up for the riddle
I cry just a little when I think of letting go

However, when executing his version of the song, which is essentially a remix of Bingo Players’ track, Flo Rida includes verses where he raps about the 2011 earthquake in Tōhoku, Japan, and his tattoo of Jimi Hendrix.

Brenda Russell’s “Piano in the Dark”

In 1988, New York R&B artist Brenda Russell dropped her single “Piano in the Dark,” which would eventually land on her fourth studio album, Get Here. In the song, Russell sings a now-familiar, somber chorus about tearing up when considering giving up on love.

I know, caught up in the middle
I cry just a little
When I think of letting go
Oh no, gave up on the riddle
I cry just a little
When he plays piano in the dark

Evidently, Kelli-Leigh ended up interpolating this hook into her sung portion of Bingo Players’ “Cry (Just a Little)” over two decades later. At the time, though, “Piano in the Dark” peaked at No. 6 on the Hot 100 just as “I Cry” by Flo Rida eventually would, creating an unintended full-circle moment for the song.

Amplifying the energy and charisma a bit more in her rendition, Kelli-Leigh alongside Bingo Players and later Flo Rida ended up turning a melancholic, soulful ballad into one of the most beloved songs for clubbing in the early 2010s.

Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images

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