MC Skat Kat
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|MC Skat Kat|
|Associated acts||Paula Abdul|
The idea of Skat Kat came from the Gene Kelly movie Anchors Aweigh, in which Kelly's character dances with Jerry, the mouse from the Tom and Jerry cartoon series. He was animated by members of the Disney animation team, working outside the studio between major projects, under the direction of Chris Bailey.
MC Skat Kat was created by Michael Patterson and performed by The Wild Pair duo of Bruce DeShazer and Marv Gunn on "Opposites Attract". MC Skat Kat's rap was written by Romany Malco and performed by Derrick 'Delite' Stevens, although Malco is often mistakenly credited for being the voice of the first rap, a story perpetuated by Abdul herself. Stevens also provided vocals for the character in the MC Skat Kat solo album.
The character released an album entitled The Adventures of MC Skat Kat and the Stray Mob in 1991, but the release of the album flopped quickly after being issued in that same year. Some of the songs made references to Paula Abdul and Opposites Attract, but Abdul did not provide vocals, except for the intro in "On the Prowl", in which she was uncredited; she did, however, make an appearance in the video of "Skat Strut", the only single to be released. Despite the popularity of its music video (as it became one of the most requested on MTV), the song only reached number 96 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Another single from the solo album, "Big Time," was given its own video with revised music. The song was labeled as "Big Time (Animation Mix)" on the Captive Sampler. The video was completed in January 1992, but it remains unaired as of today. Most of the original animation was done by Eric Goldberg, who at the time was the lead animator of the Genie character in Disney's Aladdin feature film.
According to producer John Kafka, nobody was sure what to do with Skat after the videos were finished. Virgin Music and Universal Pictures talked of a live-action/animation hybrid feature film, but nothing ever materialized.
MC Skat Kat also appeared in "Yakety Yak - Take it Back", a Public Service Announcement produced by the Take It Back Foundation in 1991. The music video featured appearances by celebrities including Pat Benatar, Natalie Cole, Charlie Daniels, Lita Ford, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, Queen Latifah, Kenny Loggins, Randy Newman, Tone Loc, Ozzy Osbourne, Brenda Russell, Barry White, Stevie Wonder and a special appearance by Bugs Bunny in an updated version of "Yakety Yak" retooled with a message about recycling. It premiered on MTV on April 10, 1991 (National Recycling Day), appeared as a trailer at AMC movie theaters, and was distributed on VHS and CD. It was later shown occasionally on Sesame Street during the early 1990s, although no Sesame Street characters were present. The video also appeared once on Nickelodeon in 1995.
Skat Kat has brown fur, a black flat-top, and a small, square goatee. He wears a white tank top, blue, baggy pants with black suspenders and yellow buttons, and big tennis shoes. He sported an earring on his left ear starting with the album artwork and the Skat Strut music video.
According to the press kit from Virgin Records' media information, Skat Kat is a "street philosopher with an alley Kat point of view." He enjoys rapping and dancing, has "got an eye for the ladies," and "remains on the smooth tip with an old school rap influence which adds the street to his new school hip hop."
The Stray Mob
- Fatz — a short, brown-furred, raspy-voiced cat who first appeared in the Opposites Attract video and briefly appeared twice with Skat Kat in "Yakety Yak - Take it Back". He wears a round, green cap with an orange stripe and a zigzag pattern on it, a light-orange shirt, an open, sea-green, short-sleeved shirt, blue pants, and a medallion (originally blank in Opposites Attract before it gained a peace symbol). He also wears tennis shoes similar to Skat's, but they are slightly smaller. Before the release of Skat Kat's album, he had no whiskers. He can sometimes be seen wearing sunglasses similar to those Skat Kat wore in the Opposites Attract and Skat Strut videos. Fatz is short-tempered, has a big appetite, and frequently pulls off his beat boxing skills to make up for his inability to dance and sing. As Skat Kat's "right hand feline," he sometimes takes part in performing with Skat Kat. Formerly voiced by "Squeak" of the College Boyz.
- Taboo — a tall cat with black fur and a tan-colored face who appeared alongside Fatz in the Opposites Attract video. He wears a yellow t-shirt, red shorts with a black belt, and shoes identical to Skat's. He also has a few tan-colored stripes on his tail and no whiskers. At certain times, he wore round sunglasses. Taboo can stretch his body in any direction, allowing him to perform the craziest dance moves. As a "car crazy" cat, he is responsible for building a turquoise-colored limousine called the Skatmobile (a Katillac), which first appeared in the Skat Strut video. In the song Kat Stories, during which he is distinctly and momentarily heard, it is mentioned that he has an underground cave with a garage. He is a "MacGyver reject," but "def in his own way." When Fatz "blasts off and starts dissin'" (i.e. becomes overly disrespectful), only Taboo can "bring him back to earth" to calm him down. Formerly voiced by "Rom" of the College Boyz.
- Leo — a large, brawny, brutish, brownish-orange-colored cat (although the lyrics in Big Time refer to him as a mutt) who "rolled out of a trash can and into the world of MC Skat Kat and the Stray Mob." He wears a maroon tank top, orange and light gray striped shorts (orange and black on the album artwork), dark gray fingerless gloves, and a light blue hat with a back flap. The rest of him (i.e. his lower legs) has yet to be seen. Leo is jealous of Skat Kat and wants to take over as leader of the Mob, but his slow and mean demeanor always prevents him from doing so. He is an "illin' groupie" people always talk about and is occasionally mistaken for a refrigerator.
- Micetro — a lavender-colored mouse who made a few silent appearances in the Opposites Attract video. His name is derived from the plural form of "mouse" and the word "maestro." As indicated in the press kit, he "popped out of a manhole one day and has been tagging along with the Stray Mob ever since." Micetro is crafty and quick, and his innocent charm makes him formidable. His only flaw is his habit of spreading gossip and bad advice to those who listen to him. Sure enough, he's "down by law with Skat Kat and the Mob."
- Katleen — a slim cat with orange fur and a black-colored tip at the end of her tail. She has a pink hairdo and wears black-colored clothing, light blue socks (magenta on the album artwork), and light gray shoes. In subsequent appearances, she also wore a blue bracelet or two and a necklace. Katleen "dances to her own drummer" and is the "ideal around the way feline" who can "ill" or "chill" if she has to. She's also streetwise, sassy, and "not a bit afraid to give Skat Kat a piece of her mind." Both Skat Kat and Katleen are outsiders who "share the same rough edges." Oddly, she is suggested to be the one providing the feminine voices in So Sweet So Young and I Go Crazy, since both voices sound different. However, in the unreleased Big Time music video, she not only had her own animated segments, but had several vocal performances different from the previous voices.
- Silk — a less cartoonish cat with brown fur. In the Skat Strut music video, she has reddish-brown hair, blue eyes, earrings, a dark purple skirt, a black top, a small, open, short-sleeved, light green shirt, black socks, and purple shoes. On the album artwork, she had black hair, a red, sleeveless shirt, a black skirt, and no whiskers. Silk is a relaxed, elusive, and classy feline who performs with the Mob because "she likes the excitement of the streets." Micetro has a big crush on her, which Skat Kat "ain't down with."
In popular culture
- In the 2009 Homestar Runner Halloween cartoon, Doomy Tales of the Macabre, Coach Z dresses up as MC Skat Kat.
In the season 4 episode of Family Guy, "The Father, The Son and the Holy Fonz, Peter appears in Paula Abdul's music video for "Opposites Attract" dressed as a cat.