They finally have it right. After several changes to the beat for a collaboration between LL Cool J, Ludacris and Keith Murray, the song "Fatty Girl" is ready to roll.
You can blame Bill Cosby for the drama, Ludacris said. The original version of the song was produced by the Neptunes and sampled the elastic bassline from the theme to "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids," but Cosby, who owns the rights, wasn't feelin' it.
"Bill Cosby, I love you like a brother, but I don't know why you didn't clear that record," an exasperated Cris said last Friday in Miami, the night before the song's video shoot. "Hip-hop is not dangerous. We ain't trying to degrade nobody. We're just speaking love, man."
The Neptunes remixed the song with a guitar-laden track, but FUBU's FB Entertainment, the company releasing the song, decided to go with a more bass-heavy beat submitted by the Trackmasters.
"Trackmasters laced it," said Ludacris, who'll also feature the cut on his November 6 release, Word of Mouf (see "Ludacris Chases The Ladies, Shows Serious Side Too On New Album"). "It's just as good right now."
At the video shoot on Saturday, with Miami sweltering in 100-degree heat, Murray was dressed in a waist-length black leather jacket and matching leather pants. Luckily, director Hype Williams was shooting indoors.
As Murray stood in front of a green screen at the Miami Broadcast Center, ready to let loose, he looked like a '60s wild child, his cornrows undone to form a crinkly afro. When his lyrics were played back "Goodness, gracious, good God almighty" Murray started his kinky onscreen antics, pulling out a motor oil bottle filled with baby oil and pouring it on a brown-skinned model lying across a Harley.
"Murray, rub it on her, but watch the face," Hype instructed, standing three feet away, looking at the shot through the camera.
"Ooh weee, Jesus, JoJo, K-Ci and Mary," the speakers blared out while Murray got his freak on and the now-shiny model pretended to be turned on. As soon as Hype yelled, "Cut," her look of ecstasy turned to horror as she wiped off with a towel.
"It feels real good to be back and to be accepted as part of this hip-hop thing," Murray said earlier that day. The rapper was recently released from prison after a three-year stint behind bars (see "Free And Slightly Bulkier, Keith Murray Signs To Def Jam").
Looking at Murray's footage in a monitor, FUBU's four principals Daymond John, Carl Brown, J. Alexander Martin, and Keith Perrin nodded and smiled with approval.
Although the four of them came up with the concept for the song, according to John, "We let the professionals do the rapping, and we let Hype do the directing."
"'Fatty Girl' means the beauty of women," he explained.
"We all know the obvious [meaning]," added Brown, "but beyond that, we're talking about a girl that has a phat job, phat crib she's just phat. She's holding it down. She's just doing her thing."
The guys, who have made millions with their FUBU clothing line, have expanded their company into FB Entertainment. They'll put out The Good Life compilation on September 25, featuring appearances by Nas, Nate Dogg, India.Arie, Dawn Robinson and Mr. Cheeks (see "Ludacris, Nas, India.Arie To Appear On FUBU CD").
The foursome are also producers of "The Crow: Lazarus," which will star DMX. They say the barking rapper is the only one cast so far for the film, which is scheduled to begin shooting in February (see "DMX Signs Multi-Picture Deal With Warner Bros.")
As Murray began a third set of takes, mouthing his verse while doing pushups, LL was in his trailer getting his dome shaved and his goatee trimmed, and Ludacris was arriving with his clique, Disturbing the Peace.
Shooting was interrupted when a member of the hired female eye candy had trouble dancing. Hype who has been dubbed "Hypodermic" by those on the set had her wearing high-heeled sandals that were two sizes too small. As she stepped away to change her top, which Hype had made her change twice already, Cris released the beast and began to lip-sync his part.
"Girl, you taste like a Cinnabon so sweet, from the thighs to the feet. Sex on the beach," filled the soundstage as Cris crawled on the floor, rapping.
"Basically, all us, we just wildin' out," Cris said before he started shooting. "We're acting out everything we're saying in our rhymes. We're going to be acting a monkey."