It would seem that we have, thanks to Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea, finally reached peak booty. Or at least, that’s what some are hoping for after the pair dropped their video for “Booty,” which does a stunning job of living up to its title. Just like hitting peak beard a few months ago meant we were now at critical mass for men’s facial hair, it’s hard to think of how anyone will manage to squeeze more butt shots into a music video than JLo and Iggy did in a mere four minutes.
But now that peak booty has being declared both far and wide, we couldn’t help but wonder how shaking behinds came to be the, ahem, biggest thing in music videos since house parties.
Sir Mix-A-Lot “Baby Got Back”
No serious undertaking of the rise of the booty video could ignore this definitive and watershed moment in booty history. Ahead of his time in the early 90s, Sir Mix-A-Lot boldly went where few in the Twiggy-era were interested in going as he called out for something “real, thick and juicy” from atop a rubber mountain of derrière. It would, unfortunately, be another decade before Mix-A-Lot’s body positive image resonated with the rest of pop culture.
Sisqo “Thong Song”
After being tucked away while grunge had its moment, the booty finally made its great comeback in the final years of the 90s. Let out of the confines of baggy pants and plaid, Sisqo celebrated the return of the rotund with a colourful, black-lit video that split viewers’ shock between the song’s subject and the artist’s shimmering, silver hair.
Jennifer Lopez “Waiting For Tonight”
In the same year, Jennifer Lopez gave the music video world its first taste of what was to come with “Waiting For Tonight.” The video managed to one-up both Britney and Christina’s dance videos thanks to its professional use of both lasers and booty. While it’s easy to suggest it was just a quick hop and a shake from here to “Booty,” JLO didn’t climb Sir Mix-A-Lot’s mountain alone.
Destiny’s Child “Bootylicious”
In fact, just two years later Destiny’s Child gave the booty the anthem it had been longing for since “Baby Got Back.” With an obvious premonition of what was to come, Beyoncé, Kelly and Michelle questioned whether or not we were “ready for this jelly?” Judging by the fallout, the universal reply must have been “yes.”
Black Eyed Peas “My Humps”
The group’s first single with new member Fergie was certainly a misleading one—it’s hard to imagine anyone except the most strident of booty lovers would have made the leap from “Where Is the Love?” to “My Humps.” Still, following in the steps of “Bootylicious” by only a couple of years, it was becoming evident what direction the love would soon be heading in.
Ciara feat. Ludacris “Ride”
Ciara had been breaking down spectacular dance moves in music videos since Missy Elliot first did the one-two step with her, but it was in 2010’s “Ride” that she completely abandoned the iconic dance troupe of the early new millennium to get low, as it were. As one of the earliest performers to utilize the twerk to full effect, it’s no wonder Nicki Minaj, who would follow a year later, turned to her for help with “I’m Out.” And unlike everyone that came after, Ciara had no problem showing off the kind of work that goes into working it.
Miley Cyrus “We Can’t Stop”
A sign that the booty vid (and twerking with it) were becoming the norm, this Disney star-turned-rebel threw together her own attempt at a booty video—making twerking a dinner topic for shocked spectators everywhere. The outrage was swift, but it was too late. Everyone was now convinced they could twerk on-screen.
Nicki Minaj “Anaconda”
Maybe that’s why Nicki Minaj attempted to craft the booty video to end all videos—going back to the beginning and creating a bottom-shaped circle as she sampled “Baby Got Back” while also toying with Canada’s Drake. If things had ended with Minaj’s colourful and crazy island of twerking paradise, the booty video would still have an impressive legacy. As it stands, there’s no telling what it will shake up next.