Teen Witch (1989)
Why This Scene Is So Horrifying: If I can “rap” to you kids for a minute, let me explain that I like old-school rap just as much as the next white kid who grew up in the ’80s liked old-school rap. It wasn’t necessarily my foremost music choice, and nothing I shaped my personal style and demeanor around, but I was always a fan of the prolific stylings of acts like Run D.M.C., Doug E. Fresh & the Get Fresh Crew, Erik B. & Rakim, Afrika Bambaataa, Kurtis Blow, De La Soul, Beastie Boys, Special Ed, Audio Two, A Tribe Called Quest, etc. About 1983-87 was a golden time, when rappers were really nailing down their craft and getting amazingly innovative. Then gangsta rap hit big in 1988 with N.W.A.’s “Straight Outta Compton” (although the genre was beaten to the punch by Ice-T and Boogie Down Productions) and the more freewheeling “party rap” gave way to tracks about inner city injustice (then raunchiness with 2 Live Crew and then making money and living lavishly despite your poor upbringing, which is basically what it still is today). N.W.A. was really an incredible, trailblazing group that presented rap as a platform for socio-political conversations that the public was afraid to acknowledge. And then, in 1989… Teen Witch came along and undid all of that in two minutes.
Teen Witch’s “Top That” was one of dozens of attempts by blindingly white people to co-op hip-hop culture for themselves. For example, one of the worst movies ever made, Ghoulies, contains an all-white “college-aged” breakdancing party. As I pondered in that review, I’m not sure if we were incredibly open-minded at the time thinking white dorks could pull off black culture, or incredibly racist for thinking it was remotely ok to try. “Top That” is a truly painful thing to watch. As if the three gelatinous bags of douche rapping wasn’t bad enough, when the girl gets involved with her “diss,” you suddenly become ashamed of all of human existence up to that point. And the worst part is, this movie came out in 1989, at the same time N.W.A. was making sure everyone knew where Compton was, and that they came straight outta there. Why did we think this was remotely acceptable?
He’s so funky…