The Prodigy 34 pcs sticker set

Huge set of The Prodigy stickers. 17 different designs (2 of each) and total of 34 stickers. Sticker sizes vary from 7 cm to 3,5 cm. Order here >

The Washington Post

Critics 'Smack' MTV's Prodigy video

MTV's Kurt Loder sounds more like a pitchman than a newsman when he prefaces the late-night offering. "MTV is about to air a video that some people are not gonna want to see," he intones soberly. "It depicts a violent and chaotic night world fueled by drugs and alcohol and sexual aggression. It is relentlessly lurid and contains full frontal nudity. If this sounds like something you'd rather miss, please tune out now."

For many viewers, Loder's words may sound more like a promo than a warning, much less a disclaimer, for "Smack My Bitch Up," the controversial new single by the British techno-dance band Prodigy. The song, whose entire lyrics consist of "Change my pitch up/ Smack my bitch up" repeated a dozen times over the course of 4 1/2 minutes, has been receiving scattered airplay at major stations in New York and Los Angeles and locally on WHFS.

It is the song's video, by Swedish director Jonas Akerlund, that has provoked the most severe criticism of what some have described as a glorification of sexual violence. Prodigy itself does not appear in the video, which features drug-taking, heavy drinking, vomiting and aggressive groping of women on the street and in a nightclub, as well as casual violence and sex. The video is projected from the point of view of its protagonist, and only at the end does a mirror reflection reveal that all the misdeeds have been the handiwork of a woman (British pinup Vicky Lee).

"Just because it's a woman doesn't alter anything," says Elizabeth Toledo, a vice president of the National Organization for Women. The violence, she says, "is still directed towards women." Toledo also underscores the many "real-world connections" of drugs and alcohol to domestic violence, date rape and other sexual abuse.

MTV, which precedes Loder's warning with a "MA D S L V" rating (for Mature Drugs Sex Language Violence), has been airing a slightly edited version of the video in its "After Hours" slot, between 1 and 5 a.m. It marks the first time MTV has aired a video with full frontal nudity.

"We felt this was groundbreaking," MTV spokeswoman Cheryl Jones said yesterday, adding that the video was limited to the early morning hours "because we want our mature viewers to be able to see it."

Newsman Loder compares the video to the controversial 1996 film "Trainspotting," which painted an unsparing picture of drug abuse and violence. "The clip is more than just the sum of the sleaze it portrays," he says in his introduction. "It's propulsive and technically arresting, and it captures the raw power of sleaze in an artful way."

Prodigy's "Fat of the Land" album was released in April and just last Friday had been certified double platinum, with sales of 2 million copies. There was no major controversy until the new single was released last week and a reporter for the Los Angeles Times contacted the nation's two largest retailers, Wal-Mart and Kmart, about its lyrics.

Both chains immediately pulled "Fat of the Land" from their shelves. In a statement Friday, Wal-Mart said it would no longer carry the album "because of objectionable lyrics that clearly would offend our customers." (Another mass merchandiser, Target, has decided to keep selling it, but with an advisory sticker added.)

Bob Merlis, senior vice president for corporate communications at Warner Bros. Records, which distributes Maverick, the Madonna-owned label for which Prodigy records, said yesterday there had not been a consumer complaint about the song, or its title, since the album's release. Merlis estimated that Wal-Mart and Kmart had probably sold 400,000 of the 2 million copies of "Fat of the Land" sold over the last eight months.

"Fat of the Land" does not have a parental advisory label -- like most general retail chains, Wal-Mart and Kmart refuse to carry stickered albums -- but it did have a slightly altered cover for mass merchandisers, with two potentially controversial song titles obscured by the band's ant logo.

Prodigy mastermind Liam Howlett issued a statement last week insisting that the new single's controversial phrase, sampled from a 1987 rap single by Ultramagnetic MC's, had nothing to do with domestic violence. Howlett said it was "a phrase used for doing anything intensely. Like being onstage and going for extreme manic energy."

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The Prodigy 34 pcs sticker set

Huge set of The Prodigy stickers. 17 different designs (2 of each) and total of 34 stickers. Sticker sizes vary from 7 cm to 3,5 cm. Order here >