No Doubt built their reputation the old-fashioned way: gigging relentlessly in and around LA where they frequently turned in high-octane sets at venues such as The Whisky A-Go-Go, Fender's Grand Ballroom and The Roxy, where they could often be found propping up bills for luminaries such as Fishbone and fellow SoCal ska-popsters The Untouchables. Thanks to Gwen Stefani's increasingly alluring stage presence and the band's energetic set of hooky, ska-flavored punk-pop songs, record companies began to take note and, in 1990, No Doubt landed a multi-album deal with the newly created Interscope imprint.
Though they'd pulled off a coup signing with the upwardly mobile and highly respected label, mainstream success initially eluded No Doubt. Their self-titled debut LP was released in 1992, but while it sold a decent number of copies, it appeared at a time when grunge was still in vogue and the industry was reeling from the shockwaves emanating from Seattle. No Doubt's bright, horn-laden ska-pop was anathema at a time when bands such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam were shifting serious units; they doggedly toured the US in support of their self-titled debut, No Doubt struggled to attract a sizeable audience outside of their Southern Californian stomping ground.
Ostensibly their first official single, "Trapped In A Box" was admittedly too out there for the radio of the time. It wasn't aggressively promoted and largely fell upon deaf ears in a world enthralled with an "alternative revolution" mainly centered on male aggression. That changed soon enough though. The horn section and quasi-ska rhythms remain inspired by early Madness/Fishbone influences, while the emerging sense of flow and pop bounce makes the track a benchmark for the time and a notable milestone today.