Wednesday, February 6, 2008

"My Humps" Black Eyed Peas

The song, a dialogue between Black Eyed Peas lead singer Fergie and frontman, begins auspiciously with a mariachi-themed instrumental that announces the beginning of a bullfight. Obviously, Fergie here is the toreador and is the angry bull. The red cape, used to excite and lure the bull, is our female protagonist’s body, or rather her “humps”. The “humps” that lead singer Fergie refer to are the parts of a woman’s body that protrude: namely the posterior and the breasts. Of course “hump” is also a slang term for an act of sexual intercourse (real or simulated) so its constant repetition within the composition sets a rather crude sexual tone throughout.

The song begins, a hypnotic backbeat that connotes a pair of hips leisurely swinging to and fro plays and asks “What you gon' do with all that junk? All that junk inside that trunk?” referring, of course, to our female protagonist’s posterior which, presumably has been displayed for him and has aroused him. The Answer? “I'ma get, get, get, get, you drunk/Get you love drunk off my hump.,” says Fergie. Unfortunately a man drunk on alcohol or lust is not a man who takes no for an answer gracefully. So the tension mounts.

Fergie is now addressing the listener of the song. She announces that she “drives these brothers crazy” on a daily basis. Since the song has a decidedly “hip hop” tenor to it, one could assume that by “brothers”, Fergie is referring to some African American males who stereotypically prefer to look at women who are larger and more voluptuous. The term “brother” could also simply mean that these men that Fergie drives crazy are not necessarily sexual conquests but platonic friends from her neighborhood who flirt but are kept at a distance. Fergie then proudly itemizes the expensive gifts that her body inspires (“Dolce and Gabanna/Fendi and Donna/Karan”) although she explains that she has made it clear to the “brothers” that she doesn’t require these gifts as payment for her company. “We can keep on datin’/I keep on demonstratin’.”

Although we are supposed to be primarily in awe of the sight of our female protagonist’s form, one cannot help but admire even more the confidence with which Fergie dangles the bait in front of her generous male admirers and snatches it away. Don’t they expect payment for these gifts? "What you gon' do with all that ass/ All that ass inside them jeans? … What you gon' do wit all that breast?/ All that breast inside that shirt?" asks, Fergie’s suitor. Fergie answers that she is not going to provide her male admirers with the sexual favors her exhibitionism seems to promise, but rather that she is going to get her admirers “drunk” from the sight of her. “They say I'm really sexy,/The boys they wanna sex me./They always standing next to me,/Always dancing next to me,/Tryin' a feel my hump, hump./Lookin' at my lump, lump./You can look but you can't touch it,If you touch it I'ma start some drama,/You don't want no drama.”

One wonders what gives Fergie the confidence to fend off these advances and what sort of “drama” threatens them into behaving. Is Fergie physically strong enough to fight off a sexual assault? Are these “brothers” of hers loyal enough to protect her? Or is Fergie simply some sort of Wonder Woman, an idealized figure who only exists in pop songs: a woman in charge of her body?

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