It’s no secret that I love 90’s music. I grew up listening to it, clubbing to it, and it is woven into all the memories – both good and bad – of my life. I’m specifically speaking of 90’s hip hop and dance music. There is something about the songs that pumped out of the speakers during this time. So many artists and so many songs, embedded deep into my psyche, all which bring me back to a specific time and place.
Finesse by Bruno Mars feat. Cardi B. could easily be confused as one of these old songs.
When I first heard this song on the radio, I stopped in my tracks. Listened for a while and waited for my brain to make the connection. I have heard this beat before, and while I was smiling from ear-to-ear, I couldn’t place it.
It had the feeling of a TLC or Bell Biv DeVoe hit, but I knew I wasn’t right. The beat was familiar, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. So, I went to work looking to learn about the sample beat.
You know when you can’t think of somebody’s name, but you know you know it? And when you finally land on the name, you feel silly that you forgot in the first place. Finesse is like that.
Apparently, Mars made this song as a dedication to his favourite TV show, In Living Colour and sampled the show’s theme, which was originally sang by Heavy D and the Boyz.
It is pure 90’s gold, in 2018.
If didn’t live through the 90’s, In Living Colour was a sketch comedy show that ran for four years (1990-1994), created by Keenan and Damon Wayans, and included the likes of Jim Carrey, David Alan Grier and Jamie Foxx. You could even find Carrie Ann Inaba (from Dancing with the Stars), Rosie Perez and the one and only Jennifer Lopez, all part of the show’s dancers, known as The Fly Girls.
The show was funny, inappropriate and left a lasting impression, both for the comedy and music industry, and gained attention for the fact that it was a variety/comedy show with a predominately African-American cast, which was the opposite to Saturday Night Live. It was also somewhat controversial, raw and really tried to represent different voices in the ridiculousness of the stereotypes they parodied.
Mars captured the look and feel of the set in his song, and transported you back to 1991 with the colourful shirts and matching dance moves in the video. Cardi B embodies a Fly Girl with her backwards hat, oversized gold-hoop earrings and those cut-up short shorts.
Bruno Mars usually can put a smile on my face with his music. It’s always fun and uplifting and he knows how to have fun in his videos too. This is no exception.
Kudos to him and Cardi B for takin’ it back to the ol’ school.