Baby seems we never ever agree, except on what makes music great…and how it makes Monday even better!
In 2015, I was hanging out with a few friends, and the guy who would just four years later become my husband, laughing, singing along, and heckling a karaoke party at a Stargate Convention. There was one guy who got up on stage to sing “Opposites Attract,” and I had this sudden urge to yell out “Bring out MC Skat Kat!” One of my friends clearly knew what I was talking about, and found it funny, but James had no frame of reference for something I clearly found funny, and because he was totally interested in me, as he says, he laughed.
That reference seems esoteric, but if you watched enough MTV in the late 1980s and early 1990s (my husband admits he isn’t as into music as I am), you probably remember MC Skat Kat, and the time Paula Abdul danced with him while singing about how opposite they are.
And while I assumed for many years that MC Skat Kat was nothing more than a one-off character meant as a song and dance partner a la Who Framed Roger Rabbit, it turns out he actually had a very minor career in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Because of course he did.
“Here’s a little story, and you’re sure to like it…”
And something about his “homegirl,” Paula Abdul.
MC Skat Kat is the creation of Michael Patterson, and performed by The Wild Pair, a singing duo of Bruce DeShazer and Marv Gunn. DeShazer and Gunn also performed backing vocals on Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl” (from the album of the same name), as well as “(It’s Just) The Way That You Love Me.” Prior to their association with an animated cat that tries to romance Paula Abdul, DeShazer and Gunn were part of the group Mazarati, a band formed in the mid-1980s by Prince and The Revolution bassist Brownmark (aka Mark Brown). This group had one hit, “100 MPH” (#19 Billboard Hot 100, 1986) and two albums before disbanding in 1989.
The idea for MC Skat Kat came from Jerry the Mouse’s appearance in the Gene Kelly film Anchors Aweigh, with Patterson playing small gigs dressed in full cat costume, eventually making the jump to an animated character, designed by artists from Disney and Warner Bros.’s animation departments working outside their respective studios between projects, under the direction of animator and film director Chris Bailey.
Bailey worked with Don Bluth on Space Ace and Dragon’s Lair, directed the Mickey Mouse cartoon Runaway Brain, as well as Disney theme park attraction It’s Tough To Be A Bug, and worked on animation for Oliver and Company, The Little Mermaid, The Rescuers Down Under, The Lion King, and Hercules. He also directed the music video for “Opposites Attract.”
After the success of “Opposites Attract,” someone believed that this character needed a career of his own, and in 1991, MC Skat Kat released his own album, The Adventures of MC Skat Kat and the Stray Mob. The Stray Mob consisted of fellow “Kats” Fatz, Taboo, Micetro, Leo (this trio appeared in “Opposites Attract” too), as well as Katleen and Silk. Two music videos were made, but this was the only album released by this “group.” Not totally shocking, but even the early 1990s had its standards.
The only single from the album, Skat Strut,” samples Earth Wind and Fire’s “Let’s Groove” (Raise!, #3 Billboard Hot 100, 1981-1982), and reached #96 on the Billboard Hot 100, faring better internationally.
It was obvious that MC Skat Kat was not the singer we were looking for, and by the end of 1991, he had become a token of a year that saw Vanilla Ice’s career collide with a brick wall, and Milli Vanilli trying to release an album that was authentically theirs.
The cameo (parody?) no one asked for!
It was that kind of year, friends.
Like I said, even the early 1990s had its standards, and not even Paula Abdul, riding high on the success of her debut album, could save MC Skat Kat’s all too brief “career.” But for a short time and on the coattails of a more successful artist, a certain cat lived out his whole nine lives, finding common ground in being total opposites, dancing beautiful choreography, and getting a shot at stardom that was his very own.
The early 1990s were good for something!
Have a great Monday, and enjoy the music!