The Honest Tease?

Imagine an ironic love machine. In private, I tease you. I mean all the off color things I say about you. And, depending upon the kind of person you are, you love every word, not because they are complimentary (often times they aren’t and when they are- completely double edged and ambiguous) but because I couldn’t have made these contentious remarks at all if I wasn’t completely and utterly fascinated by you. And ‘fascination,’ you might come to realize, is a far purer ante-cedent to affection than simple ‘approval’ or ‘agreement.’

Pumps AND a BUMP.


Nothing gets under my skin quicker and deeper than when two-bit punks trying to wax encyclopedic come whack on an old school jam. One such oft’ maligned joint is Hammer’s (he had dropped the M.C.) “Pumps And a Bump.” [Press ‘Play’ on the Youtube window and feel that beat in yo’  seat while we confab on a hip-hop masterpiece.]

No, New Jacks on Youtube, the song is not called “Pumps IN a Bump” or “Pumps AND a RUMP” or even “RUMPS IN A BUMP.” Hammer’s ill fated, “gangsta” party anthem is an ode to every black man’s two greatest loves; high heel shoes (that’s the ‘PUMP’) and twittering behinds. (“BUMP”)

“BUMPS,” interestingly enough, is both noun, the  derriere, and verb, the thrusting motion Hammer attempts to elicit in same. Hammer’s layered, nuanced exhortation for us to “Bump” (in our “Pumps”) collapses the distinction between form and motion, object and subject, and dancer from dance that has plagued “booty philosophers” like Uncle Luke, Teddy Riley and Jermaine Dupri for years. Is Hammer a semantic genius? A booty prophet preaching to unknowing masses? Maybe. Probably. Definitely!

But genius like Hammer’s is lost on haters. Hip Hop Purists (hmmph!) and Pop Culture Piss-Ants alike  identify “Pumps And a Bump” as the definitive moment Hammer had passed  into embaressing, fitfully self denying irrelevance.  For more on that myopic point of view, look no further than the grass roots, cultural think tank that is ….

To them I offer the following, numbered-for-easy reference talking points as they watch perhaps one of the most under-rated music videos the world has ever ‘dissed. . .

1. Hammer chooses to open his video in black-and-white whilst preserving his woman-servant’s valentine red high heel shoes (PUMPS) in full, illustrious color. The contrast is stark and hypnotic (“I certainly couldn’t take my eyes off those PUMPS!”) and evocative of another 1993 cultural phenomenon, Steven Spielberg’s “Schindler’s List” wherein after some two hours of black-and-white Holocaust drama, the main character, a Nazi arms manufacturer played by Liam Niesen, has a Jew-loving epiphany upon seeing a little Jewess in a fully technicolor, red jacket. . . . or something, I haven’t really seen that shit all the way through.

Since Hammer and Steven SCHPIELBERG’s projects came out at roughly the same time, I think it fair to say that those two great voices of their respective peoples were tapping into the same nascent zeitgeist of pretensious pseudo-artsy-ness that, although unnamed at the time, would come to define the early ’90s. (Think 1990’s  “Coprock.”)

 The parallels between Steven Schpielberg’s Holocaust epic and Hammer’s encomium to dance-ass are too numerous and profound to contemplate here, but I would advise my gentle readers to at least come away from this short discussion with renewed certainty that: The Jews won’t stop until they steal everything from the Black Man. Every. Thing.

2. Some of you might not catch this, but listen up. Approximately three minutes and fifty seconds into the video, Aaron Hall of “Guy” fame (he also dated Patra) starts singing a New Jack Swing hook that is like smoothe, hot, air-born butter all up in your ear. I can listen to him coo all day.

And, of course, apropos of everything creepy, Hall appears in the video wearing a skull cap, dark glasses and sporting a long, wooden walking stick as if to signify to observant viewers that: if this ‘”Pumps and a Bump” thing doesn’t pop off, I am equipped to do some voodoo exorcism shit on Hammer’s lovely home.’

3. Okay, perhaps I was so excited by Voodoo Master Aaron Hall’s appearance that I missed the obvious sartorial jubilee that is Hammer’s zebra banana hammock, a look we are unlikely to see outside Escuelita’s blatino stripper madness on Sunday nights (is it still on Sundays?) much less within the hip-hop community. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, I will leave for you to decide. I for one, appreciate a man (who has a lot of money) who is secure in his body (and isn’t fat and disgusting) showing the world a little something (as long as the little something isn’t that little).   

These three talking points only scratch the surface of “Pumps and a Bump.” I invite my fellow hip-hop-heads to continue what I have started: take another look at this diamond in the rough and reflect on the many facets of its unrecognized genius. Or be wigiddy whack and don’t.


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June 2018
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