Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Music journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie artists. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
Welcome to your weekly dose of pop world musings. Covering all things pop culture, this week I’ve hopped into my time machine again, this time traveling back 24 years, to this exact date in 1992. Back then I was thinking about summer vacation, and how I'd be starting high school in the fall. The music world was taking orders to “Jump” from two kids who wore their clothes backwards, and everyone was obsessed with backsides. OK, that last thing hasn’t changed. While I’m here enjoying the past, let’s take a look at the top five of the Billboard Hot 100 from May 30th, 1992, and remember some classics. Of course, since this is Pop Shots, you know everything is seasoned with a little bit of attitude.
1. Kris Kross – Jump
Yes, America, we let this happen. We let two kids who wore their clothes backwards, and demanded we jump, hit number one. Actually, we didn’t just let this happen, we really f*cking enjoyed it.
Aside for telling us to jump, Kris Kross became known for inserting “iggity” into their rhymes (very few of us thought that was “wiggity wiggity wiggity wack”), but they weren’t the only hip-hop duo doing so, as on this same Billboard Hot 100, the more grown up Das EFX were at #55 with their debut single, “They Want EFX.”
Kris Kross would later warm it up, and miss the bus, before attempting to tell us they were Young, Rich, & Dangerous. They also recorded a special version of “Jump” for the 1992 New York Knicks. Sadly, one half of Kris Kross, Christopher Kelly, passed away thee years ago, but his legacy lives on, as this song will always make ya wanna “Jump.”
2. En Vogue – My Lovin’ (You're Never Gonna Get It)
When discussing the history of girl groups it’s important to remember that for a period of time in the ‘90s En Vogue were the hottest thing on the planet. Talented, gorgeous, and filled with attitude, they sparked dozens of copycat acts that had varying levels success. Every guy had a favorite member of En Vogue, and every girl loved the foursome’s girl power before the phrase “girl power” had even come into our collective pop lexicon.
In addition to the copycat acts, girl groups came in myriad of varieties back in the early ‘90s, as there were still freestyle acts charting – The Cover Girls were at #41 with “Wishing On A Star” – and a lively young trio who went by the name TLC were at #8 with their debut single, “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg.” They went on to do pretty alright for themselves.
3. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Under The Bridge
Although Red Hot Chili Peppers had seen some success before “Under The Bridge,” this was the song that made them a household name. An unexpectedly gorgeous rock ballad about drugs, and the destructive effect they had on lead singer Anthony Kiedis’ life before he found sobriety, “Under The Bridge” launched Red Hot Chili Peppers into the stratosphere. While many bands fade under the pressure of trying to repeat such a gigantic record, the Chili Peppers followed up “Under The Bridge” with another mega-hit, “Give It Away,” and have been continuing to make hit records ever since.
As the Chili Peppers were just starting their long journey to rock god status, a few spots below them on the chart, at #9, already well-established rock gods, Queen, were experiencing a renaissance thanks to “Bohemian Rhapsody” being featured in the movie Wayne’s World. Sadly, Freddie Mercury had passed away the year prior, but I like to think he helped orchestrate this from Heaven.
4. Joe Public – Live and Learn
If you’re going to be a one hit wonder, have a hit as dope as Joe Public’s “Live and Learn.” The socially conscious, new jack swing, single peaked at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100, but while they were hot, they were hot. During their brief time in the spotlight Joe Public became the first R&B group to perform on MTV Unplugged, they were the backing band for the Unplugged sessions of Boyz II Men, and Shanice, and they backed up Kris Kross during the “Jump” duo’s appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show.
The band’s second album was poetically titled Easy Come, Easy Go, but while Joe Public may have become as anonymous as their name suggests, socially conscious music was sticking around, as further down on the chart, at #19, Arrested Development were starting their rise to fame with “Tennessee.”
5. Sir Mix-A-Lot – Baby Got Back
Yes, while Kris Kross’ “Jump” was at #1, Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” was at #5, and on its way to the top spot, which is where it would stay for the entirety of July, and the first week in August. This is something that should be brought up every time someone tries to claim the hip-hop of today is too pop oriented, and things were completely different in the “golden era.” Kris Kross and Sir Mix-A-Lot had songs in the top five at the same time. This happened. We had a lot of fun. It wasn’t a bad thing.
The greatest ode to butts ever written, “Baby Got Back” found itself in the headlines again the other week when actress Blake Lively quoted the line, “L.A. face with an Oakland booty,” while showing off her now ample posterior on Instagram. Idiots on the internet decided to call her a racist (my favorite being the writer at Jezebel who didn’t even know it was a Sir Mix-A-Lot line), and accused Lively of cultural appropriation. Sir Mix-A-Lot weighed in, and basically told all the critics they missed the point of the song, and Lively’s post, entirely.
Yes, we live in a world where people will make a big deal out of quoting “Baby Got Back.” People who are probably knock-kneed bimbos walkin’ like hoes.
And with that, my time is up for the week, but I'll be back next week with more shots on all things pop.
B-Listers are a select group of artists that were featured in my Artist Of The Week series that ran every Monday from April of '06 to April of '11. All of these artists have two things in common; extreme talent, and a flight path far too under the radar for my liking. They took on the title of B-Listers as they embraced being featured by me, Adam B. Check out the AOTW Archives for all the interviews.