Music Video of the Day: Push It by Salt-N-Pepa (1987, dir. Ted Demme)

Sorry I didn’t get this post up yesterday. I stupidly set the computer I realistically can only do these posts from to perform an all day and all night task that was both CPU and I/O intensive on Sunday. The last time I tried to interrupt it while doing something like that to do just about anything, the computer glitched out to you-need-to-restart-me levels. I was going to let it go. Of course, Lisa noticed, and jumped into action. I think a thank you goes without saying, but thank you nonetheless.

Okay, so it’s Black History Month. I already did Funkadelic last week. I hope to get in a variety of black artists this month. If I can, I am going to try to do one from all sorts of different genres, along with a few legends that I can find made it into some music videos despite their age. Doing nothing but rap would kind of miss the point of the month. Unfortunately, I can’t find a music video from country artist Charley Pride. Maybe I’ll find a way of sneaking him in anyways as a bonus on another post.

Up till now, I have hit Beastie Boys, N.W.A., and Run-D.M.C. That leaves me with just Public Enemy and Salt-N-Pepa in order to really hit the major groups of what I call the second-wave of post Rapper’s Delight rappers. The very first rap song I remember memorizing was Shoop. I learned it while I was in elementary school, and would have the lyrics playing on an endless loop in my head. Which of course is why I am not doing Shoop, but Push It instead.

The first thing I want to get out of the way is that director Ted Demme is the nephew of Jonathan Demme. This video is Demme’s first music video after starting Yo! MTV Raps, according to a quote from editor Glen Lazzaro on mvdbase.

Now lets get to the obvious. Salt-N-Pepa are known for songs about sex. In 1991 they would do a music video for their song Let’s Talk About Sex and would even follow that up a year later with the song called Let’s Talk About AIDS. That makes the GEICO commercial they did using this song especially perfect and extra hilarious. This early song talking about sex would, without changing anything, become a song about pushing one of the possibilities of sex back out of what this song was talking about putting something into. You have to love that. In fact, Let’s Talk About Sex brings up the possibility of pregnancy if you don’t practice safe sex, so it fits that they would be singing this song in a birthing class at one point.

According to mvdbase, this video was recorded live. It’s a pretty standard stage performance all things considered. You can tell that Demme, like his brother, knew the artists he was filming, and catered it to their style. There’s a little Easter Egg in here. At about 3 minutes and 9 seconds, you can see that they tilted the frame upwards toward the right.

Tom Demme would go on to direct a couple other feature films before passing away in 2002 at the age of 38.

James Neihouse was the assistant cameraman on this and at least two other music videos. He has gone on to do a fair amount of work as a cinematographer. It looks like a lot of them are documentaries such as those you would see on the Discovery Channel.

Glenn Lazzaro has done some work outside of music videos, but they seem to have been his primary thing. He has edited somewhere between 75 and 80 music videos. Not small ones either. We’ll see his work again. In fact, I guarantee we’ll see his work again come March Madness.


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