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When your father is Motown Records founder Berry Gordy Jr., you'd expect certain doors to automatically open for you. Not so, says Stefan Gordy, aka Redfoo of hip-hop/electro pop duo LMFAO, the group he founded with his nephew Sky (known professionally as Sky Blu).
The pair got started by making dance tracks in their studio apartment, later playing them in Hollywood clubs where they worked as a DJ/MC duo. When the duo released its summer smash, "I'm in Miami Bitch," it was through MySpace—not a major label obtained via Daddy's connections.
"Having a father like Berry Gordy was, well, it was actually a 'de-fluence,' if that's a word," Redfoo says from a tour stop in Vancouver. "Growing up, he steered us away from doing music. He wanted us to go to college and be financial advisors and have degrees in something noteworthy."
"We have a degree in pimpin'," Sky Blu chimes in.
While these two are constantly cracking jokes, they take their musical philosophy seriously: To make the world a party planet.
"If the world was partying, that means we'd all be friends," Redfoo says. "We'd dance to the same beats. Very rarely would there be a fight. It would bring people together to celebrate life. That's our goal. That's why we make the music we make: It's to bring people together."
And the public is definitely responding; LMFAO is often compared to Black Eyed Peas. There's some history there, actually; Redfoo let will.i.am record his first demo at the Gordys' home recording studio, and both attended Palisades High in Pacific Palisades, where Baywatch was filmed.
"In a way, we're like those lifeguards," Redfoo says. "We're lifeguards of the party, up in the VIP room. When we see a sober dork, we go in and give him a shot of Goose and loosen him up."
The strategy seems to be working. LMFAO has seen "I'm in Miami Bitch" hit as high as No. 51 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and the duo's sold copious amounts of merchandise through its clothing label, Party Rock (also the title of the group's album and EP).
Of course, critics have not responded nearly as well as the marketplace. In a two-and-a-half-star review, Rolling Stone wrote that after a few listens, "brain rigor mortis sets in, and we don't mean the good kind."
"Rolling Stone gave a fiddler four stars," Redfoo says. "Now, I'm sure this fiddler is really good, but who's going out to hear a fiddler?"
It's not reality, Sky Blu adds: "It's opinions, not facts. The facts are that we're selling records and selling out shows."
Despite the negative press, LMFAO is excited by the growth of its party-atmosphere movement.
"People really, genuinely feel the vibe we give off," Sky says.
As for Redfoo's hesitant parents, what do they have to say now that their son's musical venture has paid off?
"They support us now, mostly because they see the pelvic thrusting and the ladies screaming. But it wasn't easy," Redfoo says. "The truth is, I was inspired to do music because of my dad's life. Hearing his story and wanting to live in his footsteps, my only choice was to do it like he did it. I hope that I do."