Phantom Songs: Reel 2 Real – “I Like To Move It”

I'm pretty sure they stole this pose from The Pet Shop Boys...

The 1990’s were a crazy fucking time to be alive. I’m not saying this because it was when we all probably grew up. Growing up is always a crazy time, no matter when it takes place. The 90’s were simply the most deranged of decades. It was a time of nihilism, but yet nothing was really made to express it in a meaningful manner. Instead, we were given countless movies filled with boring people talking about nothing, the lamest hippie uprising since the “mud men” of ’86, a sax playing-chubby chasing president, some of the worst fads ever, neon colored band-aids, B.U.M. Equipment, and a whole lot of nothing in between. To compensate, we were blessed with the golden ages of 2 sports, and some of the best television ever produced. Looking back, this probably wasn’t a good thing, as it contributed to the disintegration of all of our brains. We didn’t have to think about anything back in the ’90s. We could just sit around and not worry about how boring life really was. NBC told us we literally had to watch television. We followed, and our culture showed it. It was around 1993 when popular music started to take a nose dive for the worse. It became apparent that the most intelligent and talented dance music on the scene was by Ace of Base, which always leads to a sad state of affairs. [In fact, what were they the “Ace” of anyway? It obviously wasn’t the basS guitar. Maybe home base? Baseball base? Free base? Who knows? Fucking Swedes…]

On march 26, 1994, popular music hit a new low. A dance song hot off the scene started taking the world by storm. And it didn’t relent until everyone officially “moved it”. It can only be summed up in 7 words: “I like to move it, move it”. In fact, they were seemingly the only words to the song. The repetitive junk gave us all a fix to our veins, and the music world was never the same again.

I thought of this song a couple of weeks ago, while happy houring at an empty mid-town bar with Joey. We were both hard pressed to figure out who made this song. In all my resourcefullness, I texted Cha-Cha, and this is the answer I received:

“Sacha Baron Cohen sings the I Like To Move It. Lyrics include: All girls all over the world original king julian pon ya case man!”

Thanks for the help, fuckheads, but that was obviously not the same version. So the question stirred longer, until I had the gumption to look it up myself.

Erick Morillo was somehow raised in both the Dominican Republic and Union City, NJ. If you ask me, they are probably the same place. His whole life, he had a passion for spinning records. He started DJing weddings, bar mitzvahs and funerals at the mature age of 11. His reputation grew strong after formulating a remix for the Locomotion. He applied the same formula to the YMCA, but with mixed reviews. Down on his luck, Morillo was taken in by the New York Center for the Media Arts. It was there that he discovered that he could make his own music. Soon he was rubbing elbows with the best. He collaborated with the legends, such as El General, Little Louie Vega, and Marc Anthony. He found initial success with his first single, “The New Anthem”.

This club hit garnered the attention of an artist from Trinidad by the name of Mark Quashie. Under the guise of The Mad Stuntman, Mark became the voice of Erick’s beats, and thus, Reel 2 Real was complete. With this dastardly duo in place, they created the monster known as “I Like To Move It”.

First off, maybe we should break the song down for a second. I always had the misconception that the only words in the song were I, Like, To, Move, and It. After listening to it again, this is actually not true. There is a bunch of gibberish being spewed out of Stuntman’s mouth. Here are a few select lines:

I love how all girls a move them body,
And when ya move ya body,
Uno move it, nice and sweet and sexy, alright!

These words are sexy and everything, but when it’s being said by a yelling African man, it’s also quite frightening. It sounds like he is demanding something, hence the alright at the end. Who is Uno? Why is he telling Uno to move it, when it’s already been expressed that Stuntman himself likes to move it? You’d think he would just volunteer to do all the moving. Maybe he can’t move it all himself? Is it too much moving to handle? Maybe he is the director of moving operations? I’m confused, lets move on.

Woman ya cute, and you don’t need no make up,
Original cute body you a mek man mud up

Wow, that’s actually a very gentlemanly statement! Thanks, Stunt! However, it seems like every girl in the video is wearing makeup, and he’s up on all of them, making do. Maybe in the video, he’s actually trying to convince them that moving it is sexier than eyeliner. Maybe is all girls just shook their asses 90% of the time, makeup could be a commodity of the past. Is it just me, or does the second line just sound wrong? “Original cute body” really seems like it’s being directed toward a child. An on the same note, what exactly happens when you mud up? It it shitting yourself?

Woman! Physically fit, physically fit,
Physically, physically, physically fit,
Woman! ya nice, sweet, fantastic,
Big ship on de ocean that a big titanic
Woman! ya nice, sweet, energetic,
Big ship on de ocean that a big titanic

Oh, so NOW I see where he’s coming from. He’s not interested in the original cute body. That body has to be modified, and physically fit. I’m sorry, but I really don’t find muscles to be cute. In fact, my idea of cute is a weakling. So he proclaims that he’s taking no fatties, and goes off to complement them again. That’s well and nice, but then he decides to tell everyone that he has a boner. Fantastic! Also, his penis is huge. Even better! Thanks, Stunt!

Eye liner – Pon ya face a mek man mud up
Nose powder- Pon ya face a mek man mud up
Pluck ya eyebrow – Pon ya face a mek man mud up
Gai ya lipstick – Pon ya face a mek man mud up
Woman ya nice broad face, and ya nice hip,
Make man flip and bust up the lip

Okay, now this is the part where it gets really damn confusing. All of a sudden, he is saying that makeup makes a man mud up! What the fuck happened to being makeupless? Is it already out of style? It’s only been 2 minutes! And I’m sorry dude, but telling a girl she has a broad face is like calling her Mr Ed on accident. You’re calling her a horse! That may be a sign of beauty in Trinidad, but in the video you make yourself appear to be a New York native, and I would never want to touch a horseface from the Bronx, any day of the fucking week. Mugh. Also, he’s explaining that the way girls move it makes him want to beat someone up. That’s quite lively of him. The rest of the song is subject to repetition. Before we move on, lets look at more possibilities of what mud up can mean:

– Jiz Yourself

– Bury your head in the sand…err…mud.

– Eat brownies, in some compulsive reaction that suddenly makes you think that it’s the only way to cope with an attractive woman.

– Melt down to the ground, which could actually be a smooth metaphor, but no.

– Give yourself a mud bath/worry about your body in order to impress the female.

– Play football.

– Mud Up.

I searched online for a definition, but all I could find is that it’s an oiler’s term for “drilling fluids”. Given the context of the song, we can easily replace the lyrics:

Original cute body you a mek man rape you

Well isn’t that adorable! So basically, moving it can be an allusion to a gangbang, rape party, or some weird thing that involves Johns and Hussies. How this song was remade for a children’s movie is faaaar beyond me. Especially when as parents, we’re worried about our disco artists being horny.

Lets discuss the video for a  brief second, shall we? The piece takes place mostly in front of a green screen. Because the song hit the airwaves in March, the video was obviously shot around the same time. So since we have this New York backdrop, and it may or may not be obvious that it is winter, Stuntman has vapors coming out of his babbling rape-driven mouth. Get it? It’s cold! But this was obviously not shot on location, and who the fuck has ever heard of a cold dance song? This song reminds me of summer, not winter, as every dance song should do. Instead of making the not-so-obvious New York winter look like summer, they went out of their way to make it look MORE like winter. Good job, bozos.

Also, judging from the ladies in the video, Stuntman can probably be described as a serial rapist. In fact, most of the girls in the video look somewhat uncomfortable, as they are being groped by a seemingly homeless man. The sad part is that the mastermind behind Reel 2 Real is almost completely absent from the video.

Regardless of it’s annoyingness, nonsensical video, and criminal undertones, the song was a huge hit. It peaked at #8  the Billboard dance charts, and was #1 in both France and The Netherlands. For all intents and purposes, the song made Erick a millionaire. Morillo and Stuntman collaborated on a few other songs and then parted ways. In 1995, he released a remix album, containing 3 versions of the song, “Can You Feel It?”. In the years to follow, Erick laid low, while at the same time attempting to reinvent the New York club scene (but that is an entirely different story). In 2005, he produced a remake of “I like to move it” with Sacha Baron Cohen for the kids flick, Madagascar, and all of a sudden, the song was popular again. It’s shameful to see that this song has now infected 2 generations of unknowing children. In 2008, he was arrested for cocaine possession. He still releases singles as a DJ.

The Mad Stuntman still lives on Flatbush. He still tours, but what he’s been touring with is a mystery.

-The Coz