World’s Famous Supreme Team
The First Video That Meant Something To Me
I could have chosen David Bowie’s “Ashes to Ashes,” because it was the first video I ever saw when staying with my family at my grandmother’s house in Kent. (It was late 1980, if my calculations are correct.) I watched an entire cricket match because I thought videos only existed in England (by deduction) and that if I waited around, the video might show up again. “Hey D.J.” was more important, though, because it gave me an idea, though vague.
I was a senior in high school when I saw “Hey D.J.” in 1984. The clip was programmed into a 90-minute show called “Friday Night Videos.” The Supreme Team was a pair of New York radio DJs who were scooped up by Malcolm McLaren and turned into recording artists, sort of. They were, more specifically, voices thrown on top of crushing, minimal productions like “Buffalo Gals” and “D’Ya Like Scratchin’?” as well as this approachable track, which had singing in the chorus. Like a song! The Supreme Team never became recognizable faces and barely made it past 1984 before being forgotten.
The most important part of the video was the appearance—one by one—of four girls looking over their shoulders at the camera while playing video games, throwing out their hips and dancing in place. As dopey as this may sound, the fact that people danced to these new rappy records was a surprising thing to see verified on a TV set. Videos barely existed and had tiny budgets, so synchronized moving was not yet a staple of the genre. When I saw this video, I was reminded that girls liked dancing to records. I decided that the rest of my life would have something to do with that.
Sasha Frere-Jones is a writer and a musician from New York.