Title: 몸매 (MOMMAE)
Artist: Jay Park feat. Ugly Duck
Setting: “MOMMAE” is set in a few different “places” (I’m using the term super loosely here). A dance floor in what almost looks like an abandoned club, a bed(room?) in bi flag colors, a tanning bed, a balcony, a pool, and what’s either a house party or a nightclub. It’s a video full of lots of lingering shots of women’s bodies in these places, as they’re dancing or lounging on every surface and you’re spending so much tieme looking at these women from the neck down that the body itself – the surface area revealed by the short shorts, sports bras and the like – could almost serve as a setting where the song’s themes play out?
Sound: It’s so helpful that Gray always drops a producer tag at the start of his songs. Like If I’m on shuffle or listening to a playlist and I hear that tag, I know I’m about to get some good music. Can that man produce things that aren’t absolutely enjoyable? I have yet to come up against an example!
Anyway, as long as I don’t actually look too long at the English translations for the lyrics, this is a great song. Looking at the lyrics – especially where Jay Park raps that “니 앞에 서면 비욘세 엉덩이도 납작해/When I’m in front of you, even Beyoncé’s butt seems flat – makes me want to lift and throw him.
“MOMMAE” is kind of a sexy club standard like… this is a song for grinding on someone, but also it’s a bit of an incel jam as Jay Park doesn’t seem to get that lines like “지금 소개받고 싶어 니 가슴에 달려있는 자매/But I want to be introduced to them right now, the two sisters on your chest” make panties do the exact opposite of drop.
Ugly Duck’s feature only increases the sexy standard with him trying to chat up a girl at the club with a nice body, telling her all what he appreciates about her – from her eyes to her waistline to her Busan accent – and how much she turns him on.
Styling: In “MOMMAE”, I feel as though Jay Park does some of his most overt Chris Brown cosplay thus far. Aside from where he has his hair in the little… attempted locs or whatever, he looks like a dude who plays Chris Brown in an ill-advised musical. When he’s in the plaid vest and dancing, it’s like he’s possessed by the spirit of that strange, terrible man.
But let’s not forget about his hair though.
“Mommae” was in 2015 and of course the landscape for talking about cultural appropriation then was quite different. It’s only recently that artists are taken to task beyond fan forums and are held responsible for visuals that pull from other concepts. However, the hair that Jay Park has at points across the video was basically replicated on his site and visuals for his last world tour and so… I can be annoyed with him for this thing he has never stopped doing.
“Mommae” is misogynistic as hell.
That’s… not actually surprising though because of who Jay Park’s immediate influences are, who he’s talked about loving in the past, and well… the fact that misogyny isn’t region or genre locked. Jay Park could’ve been a trot artist and come out with something similarly objectifying about women. Because the common elements are masculinity and the patriarchy and those are not limited to hip hop or African American artists.
“Mommae” is all about cisgender, heterosexual male gaze and pleasure. The only time there’s a sense of “oh, perhaps women aren’t solely objects here” is on the remix and that‘s just because of Honey Cocaine’s verse and even then, she’s mainly performing as “one of the guys” as she raps about how:
I got b*tches in the kitchen and they dustin’ it up
100 mill wons ain’t nothing to us
My whole team got bs and they buzzin’ to us
They ain’t f*ckin’ with us b*tchJay Park – Mommae Remix (Feat. Crush, Simon Dominic, Honey Cocaine)
(That remix, mind you, is even messier than the original which has Ugly Duck talking about how the object of his desire is so cute and that she sounds like a five year old or something. If you’re wondering how that’s even possible, you can actually thank Simon Dominic’s filthy but mmm… mark missing attempt to spit game. Honestly, it may be too wild for me to post here… but it’s also just… bad?)
I’m actually super cool with songs about sex and hooking up. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP” is one of my favorite songs of 2020. That song is so good and the video is stunning. It’s sexy and playful and it’s not automatically alienating.
In comparison, one of the earliest lines in Jay Park’s verse in the original version of “Mommae” is shameless body shaming – the Beyoncé comparison which, in the video is coupled with a very slender video vixen’s behind. The song and video for “Mommae”, like many other hip hop videos in and out of Korea, of course, doesn’t necessarily feel like it’s for female fans?
Which is kind of wild to me because of Jay Park’s origins as an idol and how so much of his fanbase lasting to this day is made up of women. If my audience was largely women, I’d at least be better about sweet talking them in a sexy single?
But I’m not Jay Park.
Now let’s dig into that cultural appropriation a little bit. Not the Chris Brown cosplay, but the other hairstyle and the way that we know that Jay Park actively does not understand that there’s an issue. Back in January 2019, Jay Park showed his ass over some white dude’s dreadful dreads and said some pretty incorrect things about what appropriation even was (I believe I have receipts here).
Fast forward to November 2019 and well… his grasp was not that much better as he still made it more about the backlash he received and not about what he was doing/his peers are doing:
At the start of this year, Jay himself faced backlash for defending US rapper Avatar Darko, who is white, after he was called out for sporting dreadlocks in a video. “I never tried to disrespect anybody and if I felt like I came at people wrongly, I definitely apologised,” he tells us by way of explanation. “There are always different perspectives — nobody can understand each other completely because we all have different experiences. At the same time, spewing hate towards each other is not going to educate anybody. It’s just a conversation that needs to be had.”Jay Park on K-pop and cultural appropriation
I think that at the end of the day, Jay Park does know better. He has access to a mirror, to Black twitter users roasting him endlessly (really, it is a lot), and, supposedly, to Black friends who would call him in if necessary. But for some reason, he still doesn’t seem to get that Black American cultures aren’t costume pieces?
The focus for him is on how he got yelled at and not that he did something that annoyed people enough to yell at him. (And in this case it wasn’t just his own appropriation across his career but that he defended Avatar Darko’s dreads, let the dude get away with saying some slick shit about Black women’s hair at the time, and you know… spent serious time beefing with Black people on the internet over appropriation like he has nothing better to do with his time.
Like the lip service isn’t cute in Nov 2019 because I don’t think he’s actually going to hold it in his head that he can just… be himself. Be as authentic as possible to hip hop and himself within the genre without… even a single second of screentime for appropriative hairstyles.
Anyway, despite my ongoing and definitely onesided beef with Jay Park… I don’t actually hate “Mommae”. In fact, it’s been stuck in my head for weeks to the point where I scrapped the Dean video I was planning to do this week. And I love me some Dean. Dude’s great and gorgeous.
But sometimes, you just need a majorly misogynistic bop to get you through the day and as long as I don’t think about the translated lyrics or my beef with that nerd too hard… I can get pretty deep into it.
Still gonna challenge him to a duel over this old song, though.