Smack My Bitch Up

Album: The Fat of the Land (1997)
Charted: 8 89

Songfacts®:

  • As can be expected with a song called "Smack My Bitch Up," this caused an uproar as it appeared to promote violence against women. The band took every opportunity to explain that the title is not to be taken literally, as it means to do something with vigor and intensity. The Prodigy didn't shy away from the controversy this song caused, and the resulting media attention gave their sales a boost.
  • The bassline and some of the lyrics are sampled from the 1988 track "Give The Drummer Some" by The Ultramagnetic MC's, where Kool Keith raps: "Change my pitch up, smack my bitch up like a pimp."

    According to a review in the New Musical Express, Kool Keith was The Prodigy's favorite rapper. They certainly helped Keith's cause, as he and the other Ultramagnetics received a composer credit for their sample.
  • The music video for this song is very intense and was banned by MTV. It's shot in a first-person point of view style, where we watch as our character snorts cocaine, goes to a club and and causes all manner of hell and unrest. At the end of the video we see the person in the mirror, and it's a girl.

    Noisemaker-in-chief Liam Howlett told Q magazine, June 2009: "The Americans picked up on it and wanted to make out it was a song about violence. We thought we'd have a laugh with it and set out to make an extreme video. That's the one time we thought we'd be controversial."
  • This was listed as the most controversial song of all time in a 2010 UK poll administered by royalty collection and payment group PRS for Music. Runner-up was The Sex Pistols' "God Save The Queen," followed by Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Relax" in third place.
  • The Beastie Boys complained that the song "promoted violence against women" and asked The Prodigy not to play it at Reading 1998. Liam Howlett recalled to Q magazine in 2015: "I loved the Beastie Boys, so I was disappointed at the time. I'd still love to do a tune with Ad Rock and I was gutted when I heard about MCA passing away. It was Americans not understanding our Britishness."
  • Asked by Seven Years of Plenty in a 1998 interview about the thinking behind the song's controversial title, Liam Howlett replied that in part it stemmed from gangsta rap acts like the Ultra-Magnetic MCs and Schoolly D with "on the edge" lyrics that he used to enjoy listening to.

    He was also inspired by the furor in the newspapers when "Firestarter" came out ("Ban this sick fire record"). "I thought this time I might as well really give them something to write about," Howlett said.

Comments: 2

  • Ricky from Ohsweken, -Never seen the video, but from what I read here I'd like it as much as I like this song... and that is a HELLUVA lot. Keep it up Prodigy!
  • Damien from Melbourne, AustraliaAwesome song and clip. Both intense, and really gets you pumping. I'm not a violent man, and I don't like it or drugs use, however, this needs to be appreciated as it is, for it's shock factor.
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