2002 was a memorable year for America. The Winter Olympics were held in Salt Lake City, the United States began their invasion of Afganistan and water was discovered on Mars.
But perhaps most memorable of all were the releases of two timeless rap/pop songs: R. Kelly’s “Ignition (remix)” and Cam’ron’s “Hey Ma.” The lyrics of both are nearly memorized by an incredibly large percentage of the country. They combined to sell nearly two million copies worldwide.
And most importantly, few songs have done more to provide white people with the confidence to dance. Many a private school prom, sorority formal and well-funded Bar Mitzvah have blared the rhythmic tunes of R. Kelly and Cam’ron.
It’s universally known that everybody likes both of these songs. But never has the question been asked: which one is better? By breaking down both videos and comparing a few obvious categories I hope to bring us all closer to being able to answer that daunting question.
Before we go any further, here are the two music videos for each song. They are both impressive odes to excessive partying, throwback jerseys and impractical headwear.
Most Quotable Line:
Ignition (Remix): “It’s the freckin’ weekend, baby, I’m about to have me some fun.”
For over 10 years this line has been used to justify all sorts of drunken behavior. Had Facebook already been invented in 2002 it probably would have crashed due to countless photo albums being titled after that very same lyric.
Unfortunately, just months after the song’s release we found out that R. Kelly’s definition of having him some fun was quite different than most of ours. Nevertheless, the line and the song has lived on.
Hey Ma: “I’m eighteen and live a crazy life.”
Based on that video alone, Juelz Santana wasn’t lying to that chick. He does indeed live a crazy life. At eighteen, his life was much crazier than mine is at 23. Last Friday, my throat was still bothering from a flu that I had earlier in the week so I stayed home and watched Scrubs on Netflix. At one point I made some cheese and crackers. So yeah, Juelz might have me beat.
Every eighteen-year old in the country has said this numerous times despite the fact that their lives aren’t really that crazy.
Juelz is now 29 years old. I imagine he still lives a crazy life and someday he really will tell us what the eighties were like, despite the fact that he was only six in 1990.
Most Inexplicable Moment in the Video:
Ignition (Remix): Random white guy dancing from 2:18 on.
There is no context for the white kid that break dances at the end of this video. I don’t know who he is and Google did nothing to help me. I tried searching everything; “White guy in R. Kelly video,” “Dancing white kid in Ignition Remix.” Everything. Pretty disappointing. I’m thinking about switching to Bing!.
He kind of looks like Adam Brody. The guy that was in the show The O.C. Adam Brody’s people were not available to comment for this article. Either that or he doesn’t have people.
*Honorable Mention: Three seconds of R. Kelly’s spinning head at 2:10.
Hey Ma: One-legged dancing man from 1:36-1:48.
I think this takes the cake as one of the most inexplicable moments in any music video ever. Not only do they show a one-legged guy dancing, but they stop the song altogether and play a different song for 12 seconds for him to dance to. It totally disrupts the flow of the song. And yes, if you happened to be looking closely enough, those were designer crutches.
In case you were wondering, his name is Frankie Krutches and here is his story.
Most ridiculous lyric(s):
Ignition (remix): “Can I get a ‘toot toot?’ Can I get a ‘beep beep?’
This is just R. Kelly messing with us. He is just proving that he can say “Can I get a…” for just about any word and we’ll sing it with him. Can I get a toot toot? Seriously?
He could have said “Can I get a ‘blerp blerp?’ Can I get a ‘ping pong?'” And we all would have sang along. We’re all just sheep following the shepherd that that is R. Kelly.
Hey Ma: “Get in the Car. And don’t touch nothing, sit in the car. Let’s discuss somethin’, either we’re lovin or I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Wow, that’s incredibly offensive. Zero chance I could get away with saying something like that. Also, I feel like if he kicks her out of his car for touching something or not having sex with him than he probably won’t see her tomorrow. That would be pretty awkward.
The Ignition video has been viewed over 21 MILLION times. The video wasn’t even uploaded until 2009.
The song itself was certified platinum meaning it sold over a million copies. It was part of the album Chocolate Factory which went on to sell over three million copies. It was also loosely parodied on The Chappelle Show in a song called “I wanna pee on you.”
Kells also managed to confuse all of us by calling by claiming at the beginning of the song that he was “breaking us off with a lil’ preview of the remix” and titling it the remix while pretty much none of us had heard of the original “Ignition.”
The “Hey Ma” video has only six million views. The song was certified gold meaning that it sold over 500,000 copies. Ultimately, it never reached the universal success that “Ignition” did.
It was part of Cam’ron’s highest selling album “Come Home with Me” which has sold over one million copies. The album was executive produced by Jay-Z. Somehow, Jay-Z has still yet to executive produce anything I’ve been apart of.
Seeing as how I took the time to do the research to write this article while you all were busy being productive, I believe I have the right to make the final decision on which one of these songs/videos is better.
And now, after careful deliberation, I’m going to have to go with… “Hey Ma.”
The “Ignition” video makes the fundamental mistake of not including a hot tub party in it, which is a crucial ingredient to any rap video from the early 2000’s.
Also, the last verse of the song ends with Cam’ron calling Juelz Santana while he is still in bed with a woman and they have the following conversation:
And for some reason we all sing along to that.
But what really sealed the deal is the fact that Cam’ron also mimics the piano riff with his fingers (all of which have rings on them) just like I do when that song is finally over. I assume everyone else does that as well.
Ultimately, both of these songs have survived and outlasted over a decade’s worth of music. They hold a special place in my heart. Without them I don’t really know what the point of alcohol-based confidence would be.