Music Article

Butting In

Songs about bums have been popular since Mel & Tim's ''Backfield in Motion''

As the infuriatingly catchy chorus (''All I wanna do is zoom-a-zoom-zoom-zoom and a-boom-boom!'') burns into your cerebral cortex, the video screen fills with wiggling derrieres for ''Rump Shaker,'' Wreckx-N-Effect's leering rap celebrating the female tush.

The formula for the clip's success? Take Sir Mix-A-Lot's 1992 hit, ''Baby Got Back,'' double the flesh, subtract the humor, and serve in heavy video rotation. ''Rump Shaker'' seems to have purely posterior motives. Bottom line: Many women are calling it the most blatant sexism ever seen on MTV.

''Most of MTV is sexist subject matter,'' says a spokesman at MCA, Wreckx-N- Effect's label. '''Rump Shaker' more or less blends in with everything else.'' Even so, shots of thong bikinis (frowned on by MTV) were cut before the clip could air.

Perhaps hip-hop artists get a bum rap. In fact, butt rock predates MTV. In 1969 Mel & Tim had a hit with ''Backfield in Motion,'' and KC & the Sunshine Band urged everyone to ''(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty'' in 1976. Queen praised ''Fat Bottomed Girls'' in 1978, but the genre truly arrived in 1984 with Spinal Tap's ''Big Bottom'': ''Big bottom, drive me out of my mind/How can I leave this behind?''

An afterthought: Rock and rap have always been a little, uh, cheeky, and inevitably some people will be bummed.

The end.

Originally posted Feb 19, 1993 Published in issue #158 Feb 19, 1993 Order article reprints
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