“Hahaha, the late 80s and early 90s were a MESS.”
Everyone loved the 1989 music video for Opposites Attract when it came out, even though it has aged about as gracefully as Laura Flynn Boyle. For those of you too young to remember the music video’s popularity (or those of you too wired on cocaine to remember those years), it was a duet between Paula Abdul and a cartoon cat named “MC Skat Kat” voiced by “The Wild Pair.” As with most things that happened between 1988 and 1992, we have to go out of our way to confirm that, yes, this was a thing that actually happened, and no, we’re not making this up. Our staff has long since drunk away any semblance of creativity, so trust us, making up something this comically stupid is beyond us.
The song shot up to #1 on the charts, and because music executives are as [redacted] as they are [redacted again, seriously they’ve threatened to sue us if we publish this analogy] they decided they were going to cash in (or should we say kash in) on the popularity of this groovy hip hop kat who raps about staying out and partying by giving him his own album.
So in 1991, the same year that N.W.A. disbanded, the album The Adventures of MC Skat Kat and the Stray Mob was released on Virgin Records. It was produced by Paula Abdul, had a comically “this is how the young kids talk nowadays right?” press release attached to it, and it is awful.
Let’s talk about it.
The History of The Adventures of MC Skat Kat and the Stray Mob
“MC Skat Kat is one buggin’ kitty” is how the press release announcement of The Adventures of MC Skat Kat and the Stray Mob begins. “Ask him where he’s from and you’ll never get the same answer.” Now, again, MC Skat Kat was a fake character who was written by a writer and voiced by two different singers, so that last part actually makes sense in real life. The memo goes on to say, “Skat Kat is a street philosopher with an alley Kat point of view. He’s a rapper droppin’ crazy science, and a dancer whose moves set the pace all over the place.” No, literally, the whole thing is written like this, and it’s three fucking pages long. “He’s livin’ all nine lives at once. Let the party begin!!!!!”
And yes, they used five exclamation points to start the party.
The album is as hilarious in concept as it is depressing to think about the music artists who listed this as their one and only “big project.” Where should we begin? Well, let’s start with the Stray Mob! They’re Skat Kat’s krew (they don’t actually refer to them as a crew at any point, but if they did you know it’d start with a k) and “they’re out of the alleys and into the streets, these koolest of kool Kats. Tight and hype, this posse of B-Kats will be rockin’ the hop-hop scene. This unlikely feline fivesome (plus Micetro!) almost never agree on anything, but each might secretly admit that Skat Kat is totally Top Kat.” Ugh, God, just dictating that was exhausting. How many people do you think sat down to write this memo, and how much did they get reimbursed for the cocaine they used during that little writing session?
Micetro is the small mouse on the car, who has a maestro’s wand. We want to die.
Let’s go over the krew and the way Virgin Records tried to describe them to the public.
Official Bio: Fatz is Skat Kat’s right hand feline. Can’t sing, can’t dance, but no one can step to the Kat when he pumps the bass on his crazy stupid beat box. Fatz is short and so is his fuse. He’s got a big appetite—and a bad attitude. Even Skat Kat knows when to step off before he gets stepped on!
Ugh, Jesus Christ. So they have a short, fat kat (we have never hated the letter k so much) named Fatz (BECAUSE THE LETTER Z IS RADICAL) who can’t dance or sing so he just presses play on a beat box, and is an asshole. To be perfectly honest, looking at that picture and hearing the name “fatz” we honestly thought he was going to be the band’s manager who found like three different ethnicities to stereotype horribly, so this is definitely not the worst case scenario.
Official Bio: Sexy Kathleen dances to her own drummer. The ideal around the way feline. She can ill if she has to, she can chill if she has to. A loudmouth panther in disguise! She’s streetwise and sassy—and not a bit afraid to give Skat Kat a piece of her mind. They’re both stray Kat outsiders who share the same rough edges.
For someone who “plays by his own rules” Skat Kat sure surrounds himself with a lot of people who put him in his place. Maybe that’s just how he keeps his ego in check, or maybe a handful of lazy writers were trying to make up information about a fake cartoon band and just went with “oh boy, even Skat Kat knows not to get in their way” for like, the entire fucking band. Anyway, Kathleen’s character traits are, in order of where they are listed on this release, that she’s hot, she’s not a drummer, two sentences of gibberish, a loudmouth in disguise (what?), streetwise, sassy, and an outsider. So basically she just dances and gives people shit, she’s the only one in this gang to get an adjective placed before her name in her introduction, and that adjective is just “sexy.” #Feminism.
Official Bio: Silk is utterly feline, cool, elusive, sexy but sweet. She’s the kicked back Kat of the bunch. Micetro’s got a massive (for a mouse) crush on her, which Skat Kat ain’t down with! Silk kicks it with the mob because she likes the excitement of the streets, but she is most definitely one classy kitty!
In summation—she’s hot, but classy. A mouse wants to fuck her, and Skat Kat is weirdly possessive about that. Also, mice aren’t allowed normal size crushes. First these Virgin Records fuckers and didn’t think that the mouse belongs in the gang because of his species, and now they’re saying he’s not allowed to feel like the rest of the krew. Whoever wrote this needs to sit down and watch Zootopia. Learn something about animal discrimination, assholes.
Official Bio: Taboo’s got a rubber body that can stretch in any direction, and he’s got the craziest dance moves in the hood. This Kat is car carzy too—he built the Skatmobile (it’s a Katillac!) and won’t let anybody else drive. Taboo is a MacGyver reject, but def in his own way. When Fatz blasts off and starts dissin’, Taboo’s the only Kat who can bring him back to earth.
Kill us now. Oh God that was awful. A fucking katillac. Shoot us in the fucking head. Also, what the shit does it mean to be a “MacGyver reject, but def in his own way.” That’s not a thing. That’s like saying “He’s like James Bond, only totally like, not, but still cool. So cool.” We guess we’re thankful that they didn’t use the term “a rubber body that can stretch in any direction” on one of the female members of the krew, but that’s probably because they’re trying so hard to be “edgy, but, you know, clean” on this album that you can practically hear their noses bleeding from the effort.
Official Bio: Leo rolled out of a trashcan and into the world of MC Skat Kat and the Stray Mob. He’s big, bad, bossy and well…brainless. Leo’s jealous of Skat Kat and wants to take over as leader of the Mob, but you know what time it is—he’s too slow and too mean to figure out the ballistics. He’s that illin’ groupie your homies always talk about—and he’s occasionally mistaken for a refrigerator.
Why is this asshole on the crew then? Leo sounds fucking awful, and pointless. Why the fuck would you want to keep around a giant, mean, slow, dumb, jealous guy who wants to kick you out of your own group? That’s literally the dumbest thing we’ve ever heard. By the way, none of these fuckers are doing any singers. Leo wasn’t even in the “Opposites Attract” video, there is no reason for him to be here. MC Skat Kat knows nothing about assembling a posse. He deserved to fail.
Official Bio: Micetro’s a mouse who popped out of a manhole one day and has been tagging along with the Stray Mob ever since. He knows how to put his innocent charm into effect. He’s crafty and quick—this mouse has a mouth on him—he’s always whispering off the 411 (gossip) and bad advice to anyone who’ll listen. He’s down by law with Skat Kat and the Mob.
Wait a fucking minute, you’re going to give us a “psst, 411 means gossip” parenthetical, and then just toss out “he’s down by law” just expecting us to make sense of that shit? What, is he a court appointed mouse maestro? We want to set everything on fire.
Now that you know Skat Kat’s completely pointless and unnecessary krew, let’s talk about the album. Per the press release, “Forgetful Paula Abdul kept leaving the recording door unlocked after she left for the day during the making of her smash album Spellbound.” Because the Stray Mob, as we’ve established, is 80% assholes, they broke in, recorded “twelve back-to-back, loc’d out hip hot cuts, plenty of beats, bass and ballistics!” which is “Slammin!” and will “have B-boys and B-girls, B-kats and B-dogs pumpin’ their paws in the alleys from coast to coast.” (People don’t have paws, you fucking psychopaths.)
Anyway, how is the album really? Bad. Very bad. They had one single that lightly charted, which they released a video for featuring Paula Abdul for all of a few seconds, “Skat Strut” which, um, yeah you can see for yourself. If you don’t want to subject yourself with “clean hardcore rap from a 1990s cartoon cat” which, honestly, we don’t blame you, it’s got such SICK LINES as “Well you’ve never seen a kat with so much charisma/ got more moves than a mutant ninja…turtle that is/ And I’m doing the Skat Strut/ To hell with John Travolta and Disco Duck.” These are some stale takes, you guys, even in 1991.
“Skat Strut” peaked at 96 on the billboard chart, and the album was a flop. A second music video was filmed but never released, and the world just sort of pretended that MC Skat Kat only existed in that Paula Abdul video from then on out. AV Club listed the album as the “least essential album of the 1990s” and it scored a 1.5 star rating on Allmusic. MC Skat last appeared briefly in the star-studded recycling public service announcement “Yakety Yak, Take it Back,” which again, is a thing that existed because the early 1990s were hilarious. And while there was talk by Virgin Music and Universal Pictures to collaborate on a MC Skat Kat film mixing live action and animation, the producers thankfully ran out of coke before it could materialize.
And so MC Skat Kat’s Stray Mob fucked right off and never bothered us again, which honestly is about the best we could have hoped from this story. But never forget, for a brief moment, a group of rapping cartoon cats got a major record deal, and people were paid (paid!) to write rap songs with titles like “I Ain’t No Kitty”, “No Dogs Allowed” and “Kat In The Casino.” Because the 90s be crazy.