At first glance, there’s not really much to the video for Kriss Kross’ “Jump,” though it’s a song and video that changed their lives, along with their producer, Jermaine Dupri. Famously, the royalty check Dupri received from Ruffhouse/Columbia Records (the label Kriss Kross was signed to) for “Jump”—the single itself sold over 4 million copies—enabled him to start his own So So Def imprint. For the record, “Jump” is a banger; Nipsey Hussle famously re-interpolated it for his own single, “Hussle In The House.” The video, though, is pretty standard early 90s video fare, with lots of folks jumping around, various performance shots of how hard these particular 13-year-olds were and lots of “gangsta walkin’” one of those two-step dances from the 90s that Memphis doesn’t get nearly enough credit for ushering into the mainstream.
Kriss Kross “Jump” (1992)
What does make the video standout is the fashion, and in particular the Chris’s (for those that don’t know, both members of Kriss Kross were named Chris—Chris Kelly(RIP) and Chris Smith). They were, again, famously discovered in Atlanta’s Greenbriar Mall because of their style fo wearing their clothes backwards. Dupri saw the way folks reacted to them and knew he something on his hands. The rest is history. In the early 90s, at least in 1992, Kriss Kross had all manner of age group dressing backwards. We were most certainly doing this in middle school as were the high schoolers. I know for a fact that young adults were also doing this. I saw it with my own two eyes. These two southwest Atlanta kids changed the youth fashion game—and entirely erased the inside-out youth fashion game ushered in by Michael Bivins’ group, fellow Atliens, Another Bad Creation.
Where I was, it happened seemingly overnight. One day everybody was rocking their clothes inside out, the next it was backwards, because “inside out is wiggedy wiggedy wiggedy wack!” I went to middle school (in 1992 I was in 7th grade) with a dude named Yrachaz (which is Zachary spelled backwards, his older brother was Zachary) who started wearing his clothes backwards. There’s something very meta about that sentence but I’m not sure our society is advanced enough to figure it out. Point is, as difficult as it was, wearing clothes backwards for however long it lasted—they largely abandoned the style by their second album Da Bomb—was ushered in by two 13-year-old kids from Atlanta, because as they say, Atlanta Influences Everything.
On a personal note, Chris Smith’s (Daddy Mac aka Lightskinned Chris) cousin, Rance, lived a few doors down from my grandmother on the west side of Atlanta and even made a few appearances in their videos. Rance was pretty much a big deal because of this fact. I even remember once being outside and Rance getting scooped up in a limo by his famous, larger-than-life cousin. I have no idea what happened to Rance and don’t remember his last name to save my life. But I do remember the first time he told us that that was his cousin and we didn’t believe him because in our head famous family meant you were livin’ large and we were absolutely not living where we lived. But he wasn’t lying. Shoutouts to Rance. And to Kriss Kross for changing the game. RIP to Chris Kelly. FILA.