Home > Cultural lowpoints of 200x > Teriyaki Boyz ft Pharrell and Chris Brown – Work That

Teriyaki Boyz ft Pharrell and Chris Brown – Work That


“Teriyaki Boyz” sounds like it should be the collective moniker a pissed-up stag party would give itself, merrily emblazoned across their self-printed red Fruit of the Loom t-shirts as they toast the groom’s singledom by throwing up in a Prague fountain, or inappropriately touching a trafficked Albanian stripper. It’s actually something a lot less pleasant than that.

In fact it’s the musical side project of that man who helped Soulja Boy’s haters get mad, Mr Bathing Ape himself Nigo. Leaving aside for a second the question of precisely how awkward the pseudonym “Nigo” is for a Japanese guy working in a predominantly black field, you have to admire Nigo’s networking skills. On the Teriyaki Boyz’ latest album, “Serious Japanese”, are Kanye, Pharrell, Chris Brown, Busta, Mark Ronson, Pusha-T, Ad-Rock (of all fucking people) and, and I wish I was kidding here, DJ Towa Tei and Cornelius. I refuse to believe those guys are still famous in Japan, and can only assume that they’re on the album just to remind people that the Teriyaki Boyz are actually famous, and they’ve bought some clapped out Japanese musical celebrities from a generation back to prove so. I can only assume that were he not pushing up daisies, Kyu Sakamoto would be turning up to spit 16 bars here.

Anyway, unsurprisingly, “Work That” is a terrible song. The beat is a horrifically archaic faux-“Drop It Like It’s Hot” affair, the sort of composition you can imagine a prospective intern sending to Star Trax circa 2006 to prove they deserve the opportunity to spend a month making coffee and opening mail for Chad Hugo. Pharrell, who remember is a man with no concept of shame, clearly doesn’t want to be there, and I can’t remember Chris Brown’s contribution to this joint four seconds after it finished. Nigo and his chums also opt to rhyme in a combination of English and Japanese, leading us to fantastic lines like “Best looking earthling yet to surface/She’s taken, what’s the purpose?” and “Oooh, I seen that on video/Tame her like a mustang ride her like a rodeo”, which have the same charming awkwardness one would normally expect from Scandi twee-pop. Not what’s meant to be a bootyshake club anthem.

But no, it’s the video that really exceeds in making this a true monstrosity. Pharrell and the “Boyz”, who for some reason are dressed as that dancing cripple who won Britain’s Got Talent in a Viking helmet, dance awkwardly in front of nothing while the director greenscreens in the eight-foot tall backsides of some anorexic girls in American Apparel underwear. Just to reiterate that: white girls with negative ass, the size of a room, with Pharrell’s twitchy lip-synching obscuring any clear visuals of them you may get. The whole endeavour strongly resembles one of Terry Richardson’s nightmares.

The whole thing ends with a “to be continued…” message, as if there were some unresolved issues in these pasty white bitches’ Kentucky Fried Chicken bargain bucket asses and Nigo’s mogadon-paced dance moves. It’s not exactly “Where we’re going, we won’t need roads”, put it that way. 

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