By Courtney E. Smith
DJ Mustard is leaning in to the ratchet music scene with “Down On Me,” a song about, of course, oral sex. Well, oral sex as given by a female to a male on top of a “Mustard on the beat” track. So, prototypical ratchet.
The video is either comically aware of itself or so cliched that the world could actually implode from the triteness of it all. It’s hard to say because the vocalists on the track, 2 Chainz and Ty Dolla $ign, play their roles with the same straight face as Keanu Reeves in Point Break: you wonder if they know the nature of what’s happening around them or not.
As one would expect, there are ratchet girls twerking and as one would not quite expect there are constant flashes of snakes, slithering (or, as hip-hop prefers to refer to them, anacondas). It’s a visual pun but one so obvious that it works on two levels: the obvious, for the dimwitted viewer and the hilarious for those who are just tourists in ratchet culture. What actual ratchet fans think of this is a mystery.
Ratchet, from the highly accessible tracks Mustard produces to the laughable lyrics (note 2 Chainz’s kick off of verse 2 with the proclimation, “I want to see you butt-naked in a fur coat / F— her in the shower when she drop soap”), is a quest to find the most acceptable lowbrow positioning that is acceptable. It’s party music. The visuals incorporate a bit of its hometown, South Central L.A., by placing the location inside of a warehouse — something Compton is known for having a lot of. The location affords a lot of inspired lighting scenarios, making that the most high brow aspect of this video.
The warehouse is also an unlikely setting for a track about oral sex, injecting some sense of gritty realism into the proceedings. This is not necessarily a good thing: instead of a luxury yacht or a beautiful Miami hotel room with an ocean view, these so-called bitches will be dropping down on a cement floor. But when you’re doing gritty and real, even a party song doesn’t necessarily net a fantasy setting.
Mustard himself only vocalizes near the end of the track, yelling out the names of various women who are going to drop it down for him. Interestingly he seems unable (or unwilling) to lip synch his part to camera, but his clapping in double time along to the track is excellent.
Mustard’s debut album, 10 Summers, drops down on Aug. 12.