Words by Jesse Serwer
Ralph McDaniels’ Video Music Box gets its due credit (especially from me) for being the first hip-hop video show but it was also the only place in New York (and, as such, probably anywhere in the U.S.) where you could see proper dancehall videos on a regular basis before the mid ’90s. Back then, dancehall was still a foreign concept to this yankee—when I tuned into VMB, I wanted to see some rappity rap and maybe the shaking rumps in a New Jack Swing video. Gradually, however, witnessing Chaka Demus & Pliers’ “Murder She Wrote” and Mikey Jarrett’s “Mack Daddy” on Video Music Box put me on to a world my classmates knew nothing of. One video I can recall really catching my attention on VMB was “Tatie” by Snagga Puss. I was greatly impressed back then by zany, cartoon character-like rappers like Fu-Schnickens, Busta Rhymes, Sticky Fingaz, Redman, etc.— and Snagga Puss was basically a cartoon character come to life. Literally. He sounded exactly like the Hanna Barbara character Snagglepuss, employing the pink cat’s vocal mannerisms as his trademark.