Entertainment & Culture
The Greatest “That’s My Jaaaamm!” Of All Time: An Ode to “Back Dat Ass Up”

By Michael Harriot

A few weeks ago we began our quest to crown the king of the “That’s-my-jams” (see the full tournament bracket here). As we stated numerous times, we were not looking for the best song, or even the most popular song. We were searching for the song that made you close your eyes and wave your hands in the air, even if you did care. We were trying to find the song that could make a hard-nosed thug dance in a soul train line. The jam that forced the saved, sanctified, filled-with-the-holy-ghost pastor’s wife  to run to the dance floor and drop it low. The tournament began with 32 handpicked, curated stone-cold jams and after a million arguments, two almost fistfights, one accusation of anti-MC Hammer bias and 31 tightly contested matches, one song emerged as the greatest booty-shaking motivator of all time:

Juvenile’s “Back Dat Ass Up.”

Now there can be no dispute, Back Dat Ass Up is officially the greatest jam of all time.

Whenever a woman hears “Cash money records taking over…” she channels Flo-Jo and high hurdles her way to the floor to shake that moneymaker. The song opens with the ghetto version of the universal way to a woman’s heart–complimenting her on her beauty. If Shakespeare lived in NOLA in the latter part of the 20th century, instead of, “but soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east and Juliet is the Sun…” Romeo would have said to Juliet, “Girl you workin’ with some ass, yeah. You bad, yeah…”

Same thing.

Where other songs and songwriters failed, Juvenile masterfully excelled at extracting the very essence of what makes people want to dance, because he explicitly tells you to do it. Unlike BBD’s “Poison,” Juvenile vilifies neither big butts nor smiles. He does not paint unreasonably romantic notions like Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love.” He does not even broach whatever subject George Clinton was talking about in “Flashlight.” (Does anyone know what that song really means? The song is funky, but it is so psychedelic, I honestly believe that if you dance to the entire extended remix of “Flashlight,” and took a drug test immediately after, you’d test positive for cannabis, crystal meth and bath salts.)

That’s why “Back Dat Azz Up” is perfect. I can never hope for a woman to talk to me like I’m Akinyele and tell me to “put it in her mouth” and I don’t have the gravitas and self-confidence to tell a woman not to stop, to shake her pu**y and let me see her Doo Doo Brown. I don’t even know what “Doo Doo Brown” is, and I’m not sure if I want to see anyone do it. I did once, however, say to a woman in my best British accent “I imploooore you, to back dat azz up.” She thought it was funny.

Everyone wants to back dat azz up, because the song presents a logical argument. Juvenile lists the top three compelling reasons everyone should take into consideration when wondering if they should put dat ass in reverse:

3. Because, Girl you look good
2. So you can call me “Big Daddy.”
and most importantly,
1. Because you’re a fine motherfucker

Who can argue with that?

We should praise all the competitors in this competition, especially the Notorious B.I.G. for having the most songs (5) in the tournament.  Some will say that this is a silly argument, but we approached this with science, technology and objective criticism. I thought “Before I Let Go” would at least make it to the final four, but Maze was ousted earlier than Frankie Beverly’s white hat at a bbq rib restaurant. In the end, it was all about faith. “Back Dat Ass Up” is more than just a song. It is a romantic ballad. It is a hip hop classic. It is a gospel spiritual.

I believe that when Donald Trump wins the presidency and eventually becomes the most high King of the United States, like King James, he will rewrite the bible. I truly look forward to the new part in Genesis which reads:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said…


I might get saved then, because church is going to be lit!



The “That’s-My-Jaaaammm!”Tournament Part 2

About the author

Michael Harriot is a renowned spoken word poet, the host of The Black One podcast and the editor-in-chief of NegusWhoRead. He is perpetually just getting warmed up because he has no chill. He is on Instagram and twitter as @michaelharriot

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