Pretty Ricky, What Have You Wrought? Ottoman-Humping Videos Spread Across Web

Web celebrities Peer Pressure and Fantasy Boiz use the popularity of their bump-and-grind videos to launch careers and get the girls.

The lights have been turned down low. The shirts have come off. The air is heavy with lust. …

No piece of upholstered furniture is safe.

From shag-carpeted living rooms in Alabama and Louisiana, a bizarre new form of — ahem — tribute video has risen. It involves several shirtless young men (or young men in tank tops, depending on the region) engaging in bouts of preening and posturing, then summarily bumping, grinding and generally doing unspeakable things to defenseless pieces of furniture while Pretty Ricky plays in the background.

Welcome to the brave new world of synchronized humping, a gleefully amateurish, slightly hilarious phenomenon that’s spread across the Internet (and onto “The Daily Show”) with reckless, sweaty abandon. Production values are low, libidos high, and apparently no one thinks it’s weird to gather in a cramped room, cue up a copy of PR’s Late Night Special and get down to some serious ottoman abuse.

Leading the charge are a pair of wardrobe-challenged guy groups, Peer Pressure (from Montgomery, Alabama) and the Fantasy Boiz (from Shreveport, Louisiana), who have managed to take a few minutes of sorta-choreographed humping — and a bizarre love of Pretty Ricky — and turn it into a modicum of Internet celebrity, a couple of management deals and, well, a whole bunch of dates with the ladies.

Still, their success raises a few questions: Why Pretty Ricky? Why furniture? Why, God, why?!?

“We just like what Pretty Ricky raps about, and all of us have been dancing for a while, so one day we just decided to record it,” Peer Pressure’s Desmond “Satisfaktion” White said. “We all just combined our ideas and made something up. We filmed it at [group member] Ant’s house. It didn’t take long to do, like, maybe 10 or 15 minutes, and then we put it up.”

Peer Pressure’s homemade video for “Late Night Special” (see it for yourself here) first hit the Net back in February and has since become the furniture-romancing clip against which all others shall be judged.

Starting off with a series of still shots of the group — at least two of which seem to have been taken at a Target store — then quickly devolving into an onslaught of muttered intros (“This your boy X, ’bout to show you what I got”) and rhythmic humping of a tan ottoman, the video is hilarious, nonsensical and a tad unsettling. So naturally it quickly became an Internet sensation.

“Late Night Special” racked up more than 800,000 views on YouTube and was even parodied by Jon Stewart and company, but for all the good that exposure brought, there was also a whole lot of hateration, too. More than a few YouTubers found the clip to be — as one commenter put it — “the most homoerotic thing I’ve ever seen,” a suggestion that has dogged the guys in Peer Pressure ever since.

“Well, the people who think it’s gay are mostly guys, and we don’t care about them, because we dance for the females,” White said. “We can care less. Just check our views, our comments, our notes. We get like 30 messages a day on YouTube, and we get girls anyway, so that’s nothing.”

Of course, the success of “Late Night Special” also spawned a sea of parodies and even a rival group, Fantasy Boiz, whose smooth air-humping moves and equally libidinous videos have made them the biggest thorn in Peer Pressure’s collective, writhing side. Their take on Pretty Ricky’s “Up and Down” is a remarkable five and a half minutes of popping hips, backward ball caps, awkward crawling and even more awkward framing.

Billed by their manager as a “male performing group,” the Fantasy Boiz are a popped-collar, color-coordinated song-and-dance machine that makes no qualms about its desire to get signed to a major label and make a ton of cash — sort of like Peer Pressure with a business plan. To be fair, the similarities between the groups seem to be limited to pelvic thrusting and an affinity for Pretty Ricky (the Boiz don’t even hump a single piece of furniture in any of their videos), but that hasn’t stopped Peer Pressure from posting a video taking the Boiz to task for “trying to be like us by saying their names in the beginning of their video” and for “not having any rhythm.”

“We know we’re better than the Fantasy Boiz, so we really don’t have anything to say to them,” White says, which seems odd, given that Peer Pressure posted a seven-minute-long video about the Boiz. “If you ask us, we think we dance better than those guys.”

Like Peer Pressure, the Fantasy Boiz seem rather amazed by the success of their video, but they don’t see any similarities between the clips. In fact, they take their work quite seriously. “Girls, they look at [our videos] like we’re making love in the air, but there’s really a passion we put in it,” Fantasy Boiz’s Artavia “Da Prince” Jameson said. “You gotta have emotion and smoothness to make these moves look a certain way. It’s more than what it seems like. It’s a lot of work. … The dream is to get where Pretty Ricky are. To make it on BET, to have music videos, to get signed, to have fans, that’s what we’re aiming for. Getting girls, that’s gonna come. It’s serious to us.”

The Boiz are determined not to let Peer Pressure’s jabs stop them on their quest for worldwide domination. They’re currently working on a demo that they’re shopping to labels, which Jones said will feature “songs about the ladies, love, having fun, breaking up and making up.” The group is also taking bookings for private performances.

“See, there’s a lot of groups that try to go against us; they’ll send us messages saying their better than us,” Jones laughed. “But when you go to their videos, you see comments like ‘You’ll never be like the Fantasy Boiz,’ or ,’Y’all not sexier than them.’ So we just look past them, too. They’re not our competition. In my eyes right now, me, Lil Red, Teddy B. and King Jones doing what we do, I think we’re unstoppable. Nobody can beat us right now.”

And for all the online video views, comments and parodies, neither Peer Pressure nor the Fantasy Boiz claim to have heard anything from their idols: Pretty Ricky (the band did not respond to MTV News’ requests for comment on the videos, either). That doesn’t mean that either group is going to stop humping anytime soon. Both continue to post videos (among the standouts are a Kris-Kringling Christmastime hump by Peer Pressure), and with superstar status so tantalizingly close, both are working hard to reach the top.

“People probably think it’s funny to watch us dance in our dining room, but they also probably think it’s funny because we’re so original,” Jones said. “We don’t need a dance studio. We keep it original and do what we do. And that’s not gonna stop.”

Added White: “To be truthful, we’d love to go on tour with Pretty Ricky, because they’re living the life. In the meantime, we’re gonna keep making videos, doing parties. [But only] parties for females.”

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