Bad, bad, bad, bad girls; you make me feel so good. This is what teen pop should be. Instead of sappy ballads and corny “party” songs, we need more sassy girls throwing out diss songs over beats that would sound right at home on a Salt N’ Pepa or 2 Live Crew record. In a just world, Fannypack would get to scratch out Brittany’s eyes and pull out Christina’s weave. But for now, this Brooklyn five-piece will just have to settle for being much, much cooler and much, much younger.
Cat Martell, 22, Belinda Lovell, 16, and Jessibel Suthiwong, 18, are three girls from Brooklyn who, along with their DJs/producers/songwriters/Svengalis Matt Goias and Fancy, have taken the world by storm with “Cameltoe,” the band’s hit single about the unwanted female frontal wedgie. Perhaps the most cleverly barbed and downright booty-bouncing singles of the year, it’s been getting play on college radio and New York’s Hot 97, the hotbed of commercial hip-hop. Some detractors, or “haters” as they say in the industry, have dismissed them as a novelty. But Fannypack’s full length is much more than that; “Cameltoe” is actually one of the weaker tracks on the band’s debut LP, So Stylistic.
So Stylistic marks a real return to old-school party rap. If you need further proof, listen to “Theme From Fannypack,” which relies heavily on a sample from “900 #,” the song to the Ed Lover dance. Or “Do It to It,” in which the girls brag and boast over a killer Miami bass track that would make DJ Magic Mike holler. As Suthiwong’s bio reads, “There’s almost nothing [she] likes to do more than dance and she and her friends regularly get dressed ‘all hoochie’ and go out to various parties around Brooklyn to dance to hip-hop, salsa, reggae, and merengue. Jessibel is right now a senior in high school and working very hard to graduate. She is very excited about her upcoming prom and has recently ordered her periwinkle dress from the prom dress catalog. She can’t wait!” Yes! Not even a hint of irony here in this crude bio. Fannypack’s fun loving innocence is infectious and it comes across on record perfectly.
Goias explains the founding of FannyPack, “There was a guy selling belts for two dollars and he was snapping his belts making a beat and the girls were just standing there making up songs on the spot, singing along to this guy who was, uh, belt boxing. I was amazed so I hung out and listened for a while and they just kept coming up with these ridiculously simple and genius little dance hooks with only cheap, snapping leather as their musical accompaniment. I approached Jessibel and the rest is history.” So Stylistic captures that energy in a mindless and catchy-as-hell record that’s one of the best to be released this year.
Catch Fannypack on tour now; the band’ll be at the Knitting Factory Aug. 29.