Mix-a-Lot Fronts a Flashy New Viewpoint
If there was a “Baby’s Got Back,” it was probably inevitable there’d be a “Baby’s Got Front.”
Still, the breast-obsessed new video “Put ‘Em on the Glass” marks an instant rift in rapper Sir Mix-a-Lot’s unlikely alliance with those women who saw his paean to plump derrieres, “Baby’s Got Back,” as a liberating corrective to thin-is-better stereotypes.
In a perfect world, Mix-a-Lot’s successive bigger-is-better odes to select erogenous zones might drop to much the same reaction, positive or negative. But we live in the world of real women, vast American percentages of whom are convinced that their butts are too big, far fewer of whom are looking to be assuaged by a blue rapper that their busts really aren’t too large after all (or assured that they would make nice hood ornaments).
R.I.P., Sir Mix-a-Lot, progressive feminist hero. Long live Sir Mix-a-Lot, patron saint of young lads everywhere.
MTV, bless its soul, rejected this clip--helping make it No. 1 on all-request cable outlet the Box, where it airs about every 15 minutes or so. The ludicrously outsize prurience of “Put ‘Em on the Glass” is put up against the glass bottom of this month’s edition of Sound & Vision, where pop music videos are rated on a 0-100 scale.
The Beastie Boys, “Sabotage.” Just when you thought every last vestige of the ‘70s had been revived and discarded, the Boys’ latest is a fond, hyperactive homage to the TV cop shows of that era. The video runs like a hellishly paced, nonstop montage of credit sequences from “Mannix” and its ilk--all car chases and chops-busting. The Beasties themselves appear as the principals, in ridiculous period curly wigs and mustaches. All that is missing is the proper end title: A Quinn Martin Production. 78
Public Enemy, “Give It Up.” Remember when PE was considered--for better or worse, rightly or wrongly--the edge of the envelope, as went dangerously radical, arms-carrying pan-Africanism in rap? How times and trends have conspired to make PE’s most incendiary past missives seem moderate. And the group itself is preaching outright positivity this time out. Is the world ready for . . . Public Friend?
On a spaceship hovering over Earth, clay animation doppelgangers of members Chuck D., Flavor Flav, et al watch the violent goings-on in the black community before letting loose a “culture ray” that magically turns guns into books before an endangered school kid’s eyes. Part of the video is also dedicated to savagely parodying such rap trends as gangsta women, gangsta kids and gangsta white boys.
The hard-core camp may not take to PE’s anti-drug preaching, but it’s a welcome drop in the bucket. 76
Smashing Pumpkins, “Rocket.” Speaking of bands in spacesuits, the scenario here is straight out of Joe Dante’s “Explorers”: Pre-pubescent kids raid a jet scientist’s junkyard and put together their own rocket ship, in which they promptly ditch their family summer barbecues in search of other planets.
The kids end up right back on Earth, with a not-quite-surprising twist: Billy Corgan and company are still strumming away as before, but the Pumpkins are gray old geezers now. You doubt it? If there can be a “Woodstock ’94,” there’ll probably be a “Lollapalooza ’19" too. 75
Crash Test Dummies, “Afternoons and Coffeespoons.” The Dummies are a bit too cute for their own good at times, and this is one of those times. But you’ve got to like a group that pens an ineffably catchy single whose lyric does nothing but nervously anticipate male-pattern baldness, adult diapers and death. And you’ve just about got to love a band whose video for said single features the singer on a gurney getting a catheter stuck up somewhere or another. (Extra bad-taste points for positioning the Grim Reaper in the hospital hallways.)60
The Artist Formerly Known as Prince & Nona Gaye, “Love Sign.” Gaye, playing an urban mercenary in unostentatious tight red leather, is assigned to kill TAFKAP, who, in true Bond fashion, assuages her homicidal intentions by sleeping with her. After this bedding, ex-spy Gaye becomes such a convert to the ways of love, in fact, that, post-coitally, she heads down to a “Guns for Tickets” exchange and turns in her firearms to the police. The director here, surprisingly, was gangsta antihero Ice Cube--which is cause for curiosity: Was the video’s final pro-gun-control scene--in which folks hand over their firepower to the fuzz, for instant meltdown purposes--really the idea of the famously cop-phobic Cube? 48
Elton John, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” The composer of the “Lion King” melodies is digitally deposited into some of the animated film’s more pastoral scenes here, singing his own languorous version of the movie’s love theme. Given how the once lionized singer is squandering his talent on ineffectual, by-the-book balladry like this these days, a weary former fan might be forgiven for wishing E.J. had been inserted into the wildebeest stampede instead. 37
Sir Mix-a-Lot, “Put ‘Em on the Glass.” The rapper’s latest single pays tribute to the gals who supposedly drive past him on the freeway at high speed and press their chests against car windows for his viewing pleasure--a phenomenon we’ll just have to take his word for.
When it came time to produce the video, someone apparently had second thoughts about just how unrealistically unwieldy it is to put flesh under glass from inside a moving vehicle--unsafe at any speed, as our homeboy Ralph would say. So instead, this clip ingeniously shifts its focus toward female car-washers so dimwitted they occasionally mistake their bikini tops for squeegees. (Sometimes these top-heavy amnesiacs even forget their tops, but electronic scrambling takes care of that on commercial cable.)
Feminists may have their own order to give to Sir, without love, after this: Put ‘em on the block, buster. 2
AT THE CAR WASH: It’s clear to see what’s on Sir Mix-a-Lot’s mind as he surfaces with a sudsy squeegee squad for “Put ‘Em on the Glass.”