Da Butt
by E.U.

Album: School Daze Soundtrack (1988)
Charted: 35
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Songfacts®:

  • Spike Lee commissioned this song for his 1988 movie School Daze, his first major picture. He needed a song for a scene where the kids would be doing a new dance called "Da Butt," so he called his friend Marcus Miller and asked him to write one. Miller is best known for his work with Luther Vandross, but he had done production work and played bass on hundreds of tracks for artists like Herbie Hancock, Natalie Cole and George Benson. He used to play in a group called Jamaica Boys with Chaka Khan's brother Mark Stevens, so he called Stevens and they wrote this song.

    After Spike Lee approved the demo, Miller asked the nine-piece Washington, DC band E.U. to record it. Spike brought some of the actors from the film to the studio, and they recorded it with a lot of improvisation and a party vibe - all the shouting and laughing is genuine. It was Stevens who came up with the "get your backfield in motion" line - a great use of football terminology to describe booty shaking.
  • E.U. stands for "Experience Unlimited." The group had a hit in the DC area with a 1980 song called (ironically enough) "Rock Yer Butt." "Da Butt" became their best-known song and a highlight of their stage shows. The song didn't get a lot of radio play, but was a #1 R&B hit.
  • This was one of the first "Butt" songs. Songs like "Rump Shaker" and "Baby Got Back" became popular a few years later as women with big booty gained acceptance.
  • The song has it's own dance, but it's not very coordinated. Really, it's just shaking your butt however you feel like it. Many people learned "Da Butt" from the music video, which Spike Lee also directed and appeared in, shaking his butt at one point.
  • There is a bit of audience participation in this song, which helped make it a dance club favorite. Toward the end, the lyrics are, "(insert name here) got a big old butt." According to Miller, the group's lead singer, known as Sugar Bear, came up with that in the studio.
  • This is one of the biggest hits with the "go-go" sound. A fun mixture of dance, rap and funk, go-go was popular in the late '80s/early '90s and popularized by Kid 'n Play and their Houseparty movies.
  • E.U. contributed the song "Party Hearty" to the next Spike Lee Movie, Do The Right Thing.
  • The actress Glenn Close did "Da Butt" at the 2021 Oscars, where she was nominated for her role in Hillbilly Elegy. It happened in a trivia segment where she correctly identified the song and knew that it wasn't nominated for an Oscar.

Comments: 8

  • B- Bassman from Racine, WiShe's Gotta Have was an independent film from Spike Lee and not a major film. There is a difference between the two.

    B-Bassman
  • Rollot from The Burgh, PaThe Lyrics are not "Melissa got a big ol' butt now
    And Sonya got a big ol' butt (oh yeah?)"

    The correct lyrics are "Melissa Got a big ol' butt (oh yeah), Bo Turner got a bubble butt (oh yeah)"

    This is a fact as Bo's sister was friends with the guys from E.U. and they put their names in the song on purpose. Now, those other lyrics may be the published ones but if you listen to the song, you will see I am right.
  • Dbp from Lynn, MaSchool Daze IS NOT Spike Lee's first major picture. She's Gotta Have It came out two years before School Daze.
  • Joshua from La Crosse, WiJay: If you're referring to the chorus "Doin' da butt", there's definitely a double entendre there but somehow I doubt it was intentional. For what it's worth, the first time I heard this I thought the lyric was "Do it in da butt" - which obviously would have changed the song's meaning, not to mention conjured up the infamous Newlywed Game legend.
  • Jay from Atlanta, GaMetaphorically speaking, I'm not sure of the significance of the title(?) Is it meant to be taken as an allegory or should I take a more literal view?
  • James from Hamilton, GaPeople that are familiar with the roots of "go-go" know that it started in D.C. In the mid 70's not late 80's and the other groups that mastered that sound were trouble funk, rare essence and the guy that sarted it all Mr. Chuck Brown with the song "Bustin' Loose."
  • Elson from Los Angeles, CaThis song was written by legendary bassist Marcus Miller, known for his virtuoso bass solo skills. Ironically, the bass line for this song is very simple.
  • Brian from Meriden, CtA woman's ass has always been a central part of rock and roll.
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