Kriss Kross’ll Make Ya…

JUMP!
JU-

o.O

Where’d wiki go? Oh, they’re showing solidarity with the pirate community. Ok. I’ll have to finish off my run through of the number #1 charting songs in that magickal world of 1990s Australia some other time.

Here’s something else though.

My stepmom Roland (fun fact: she used to bring home strange men from the logistics company where she worked until they fired her and one time one of those guys hit me so they brought in social services and I spent two weeks with a South African foster family in a nicer house and she got a $1600 fine and a suspended jail term for child endangerment and we never saw that guy again – I think he was a Maori or some kind of Islander) anyway, she posted this video (sans irony), “Lenin Is Always With You”:

Now then, the interesting thing is that there was and English language rnb cover of this titled “He is Always With You” by the duo called “College Football” which featured none other than Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes – later better known for her work in TLC and the car crash that killed her – and Sandy Denton who went on to be the “Pepa” in Salt N Pepa. College Football were involved with the rather notiorious neo-Maoist group the Revolutionary Communist Party, sometime putting music behind the recorded speeches of party guru Bob Arvakian before he went into hiding.

Their version was a straight-forward hagiographic hymn like the original, with a new verse about Mao (“red light dawns in the east, my peeps big up they ears, there be no more tears”) and, as one would expect, rather soporific praise of the revolutionary genius of that particular obscure Armenian. Understandably College Football enjoyed little success – in fact if anyone can name any successful Maoist pop group except Alabama 3, you will win 1000 internets  – and Lopes and Denton also grew weary of the RCP, moving towards a more commercially palatable Garveyite position before parting company on amicable terms, despite certain rumors circulating some years later about Lopes’ role in a dispute over publishing rights between Denton and Deidra Roper – better known as DJ Spindarella.

Interestingly, a lengthy but almost instrumental version of that track did appear on the European 12″ of Salt N Pepa’s “I am Down” which was the last single before the new band’s break through hit “Push It”. The lyrics were largely inaudible though, heavily treated with a Robot Vochorder (and remember this is almost 25 years before the current hiphop/rnb obsession with autotuning) and buried deep in the mix. The song re-emerged in a very different form 6 years later as SnP’s smash hit, “Whatta Man”:

By now, all reference to political figures and the revolutionary lineage of the song was removed; Denzel Washington, Barry White, notorious Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger and 7/11 convenience stores are the only recognizable cultural references. The “man who made a difference in my world” the “God-sent original” is no longer Lenin, Mao, or even Comrade Arvakian, but a conventional erotic male fantasy figure.

The lesson, though, is that there was nothing inevitable about the song’s progress from symbol of Marxist-Leninist personality cult to inoffensive positive rnb AOR radio mainstay, and – at best – the thinking person’s “Shoop”, as I believe reviewing the interesting history of the track with the advantage of revolutionary hindsight reveals.

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7 responses

  1. Robert

    Now this is good stuff. I can’t wait to read what your stepmom has to say about it.

    January 19, 2012 at 4:42 am

    • My stepmom never liked my music. One time she caught me dressing up as Gloria Estefan in that red rubber dress she wore in the clip to Miami Sound Machine’s “Dr Beat”. She told my dad Kiwigger D. about it even after I begged her not to because I said you know what he’s like and the Dr – not Dr Beat but the actual Dr – said we’re not allowed to get him angry with his blood pressure and stuff.

      But anyway she did.

      He beat me pretty bad that day. He said no son of his was going to dress up as Gloria Estefan from Miami Sound Machine’s “Dr Beat” video. He said I’d make the family into a laughing stock. But I didn’t care. I performed that song for my Young Australian Communists for Freedom end of year reception at Camp Eureka and it was the talk of the whole Australian Proletarian Youth Movement. Some of the old people couldn’t understand the funk that the MSM was laying down and they thought it was an anti-Castro song or whatever but really all they wanted to do was make you shake your booty and some of the other young comrades were laughing at me because I was wearing a lot of make-up I admit, but you know I also had a lot of bruises to cover because my dad Kiwigger D. beat me pretty bad.

      January 19, 2012 at 12:20 pm

  2. Deane

    Dude, every seoncd NoI and fiver-percenter hip-hop group – which just about covers most of the 80s and 90s between them – was into Mao, coz of the Panthers. I’d check the interwebs, but New Zealand is only up to 1997 on the interwebs, and all I get is this one Geocities Page about the Spice Girls being five percenter chicks – especially Sporty – and nothing about Salt n Pepa. Wu Tang though, I’m sure. Pretty sure.

    Or you just playing with us?

    [tell me about the fantasy world you escape to, to dull the pain of a broken home. not like Pan’s Labyrinth, where they do it half-assed, and tell a really good story in the real world but do the fantasy world all half-cocked and unfinished like it isn’t really important to the movie after all and they’re not quite sure why they did it but they spent a lot of money on it so it has to stay, and maybe not Fight Club either, otherwise you’d have to be really disturbingly insane in the membrane and that would put off the few viewers not already put off by really bad old-fashioned claymotion, but maybe like I Kill Giants.]

    January 20, 2012 at 7:40 am

    • BONUS DJ MAO REMIXED AUTOTUNED COLOMBIAN BOYBAND MILITANCY!

      These guys are pretty cool but not as cool as my hero Gloria Estefan. I love her sooooo much! She’s so glamorous! I wish I was that glamorous and everyone would want to watch me dance and sing! My dad – Kiwigger D. – tells me I’m being stupid and no one will ever wanna watch me dance and I’m no good anyway. He’s got a lot of stress right now my stepmom (Roland) says which is why he says these things. Also I’m not supposed to get him angry because of the stroke medication that he’s on. He’s working all the time. Like everyday. He runs this newspaper that he says is the only newspaper in Australia that isn’t liberal propaganda but they’ve got some problems now like with the Soviets and stuff so I think they’re gonna go bankrupt. He spends most of the day on the phone to Party donors trying to get them to give some money so the paper can keep going and he can keep his job. I don’t like to think about it because it makes me feel sick in my tummy. I just know not to play my music too loud when he’s at home and stay out of his way if he’s had a bad day or if my stepmom’s been drinking. Sometimes I wish I could just go live with grandma and grandpa on their farm.

      January 20, 2012 at 12:05 pm

  3. “if anyone can name any successful Maoist pop group except Alabama 3”

    Gang Of Four.

    January 23, 2012 at 8:51 am

    • Hooray! For bonus internets, any groups achieving pop success advocating the reforms of Deng Xiaoping Theory?

      January 23, 2012 at 12:52 pm

      • BZZZZT. Time’s up. The answer is 50 Cent. Get Rich Or Die Tryin went eight times platinum in the USA alone.

        We’ll be back next week with founder of the Shining Path, Abimael Guzman, and if that’s not a flash from the past big enough to make you tune in, how about Taylor Dane performing her first new single in over a decade? We’ll see you then.

        January 24, 2012 at 10:00 pm

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