Before we get going, let me preface this entire piece with two words: Fight me.
Ass anthems. Booty songs. Shake jams. Butt bumpers. No matter what you call them, they all bring the same thing to the table: They put asses on the floor, both literally and figuratively.
Songs dedicated to the derriere have long been a staple of the black community. My great uncle Jehosophat Rallo Jenkins Berkshire Jr. II once told me that he’d heard (while working the chitlin circuit in celebration of his debut record, “Butt Cheeks Ain’t Nothin’ but a Good Time Masquerading as Child Support Payments,” which, believe it or not, never charted) that before Robert Johnson allegedly sold his soul to the devil in exchange for musical greatness and success, he tried to sell his soul to a waitress in Biloxi because of dat ass.
As a card-carrying member of the Gluteus Maximi for the World Society—a club built on humanity and core values of booty appreciation—we annually discuss the intersection of kinetics, slow motion and music, and how to best shake that ass for peace, love and soul. It is in this endeavor that we rank booty shake jams. I’m going to let you all in on our annual rankings—for this year only—to see where we landed on some jams whose sole purpose is putting asses in motion on the dance floor.
[As a point of historical note, in December of last year, VSB’s Damon Young pondered what the second-best booty song of all time was and listed a bunch of contenders but never ranked them. In a true sign of how important all of the songs listed are, this ranking was compiled BEFORE I even remembered the booty piece existed. Most of the songs he included made this list. That means these songs are hard science now.]
Out of respect for the first to really put asses on the map, this song enters the rankings. Sure, you will never actually hear this at a club where black people congregate, and it’s more likely to be in a set that includes Vanilla Ice and Blink-182, but before the song was co-opted (and ensured Mix a tremendous payday), it was the song that displayed the true appreciation for asses—plus, it’s probably the only video that features a rapper dancing atop a fake ass that would make Jim Henson proud.
This song is so hype you can’t help but getting to gyratin’. Plus it contains a sample of one of the greatest booty songs of all time, which means that of course it would end up as one of the best. Plus it includes, for me, one of Drake’s funnest verses ever.
All that ass, in them jeans. Probably also features Wale’s most memorable verse ever. With that slow-plodding beat and hook, strippers everywhere showed us how it was done, and dance floor savants were happy to point out, “look ma, no hands.”
No lie, the most explicit non-stripper dance I’ve ever seen in my life happened to this song at a club in D.C. This woman had an actual audience of men and women watching, didn’t care and proceeded to earn the respect and admiration of all who bore witness. I promise I’m not making this up; people shook her hand after she stopped. Respect due.
If you don’t watch yourself and show people what you’re working with while listening to this song, then you’re doing it wrong.
Kids nowadays have no idea about the wonderousness that was “Rump Shaker,” featuring a video that was taboo for its time (though today there are church congregations featuring less clothes than the participants of said video), but “Rump Shaker” was everything, and everything was “Rump Shaker.” To the rump. Yes, all I do wanna do is zooma zoom zoom zoom. It’s really the only way.
Don’t stop, pop that *CENSORED*, let me see you Doo Doo Brown. Those words (the whole lyric sheet really) should be handed into the National Archives for permanent commemoration next to the Declaration of Independence for their unapologetic desire to move butts. I know it’s not couth to call an ass jam perfect, but the BPM is way up, the call and response is explicitly ideal for anybody 18+ and the cardio workout potential is unparalleled.
When it’s all said and done, Lil Jon will be heralded as a prime purveyor of the pop. His whole catalog is perfectly suited for putting that ass on the floor. “Get Low” is a crown jewel of booty usage, especially because of the Ying Yang Twins, in that it’s instructional, educational, great for exercise and ultimately is about teaching the youth the difference between windows and walls, filling a tremendous gap in public education.
One of only two songs guaranteed to ensure a rush of emotions and asses to the floor. Do you have to have a big ol’ butt in order to do da butt? No, you do not. You just have to be willing to shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake and able to do “da butt” until it makes you sore. Yeah.
To quote Damon, from way back yonder: “But the best booty song ever, undoubtedly and undisputedly, is ‘Back That Azz Up.’ There’s no question, no debate, no argument, no discussion. If I titled this ‘What’s The Best Booty Song Of All-Time’ instead, it would be resolved in five words. ‘Back That Azz Up’ and ‘Duh.’”
From the ’99 to infinity ... and beyond.