Kris Kross Director Recalls Shooting ‘Jump’ and ‘Warm It Up’ Videos
In 1992, two cute rap tykes named Kris Kross had kids hopping up and down to their chart-topping smash ‘Jump.’ The duo — Chris “Mac Daddy” Kelly and Chris “Daddy Mac” Smith — were the brainchild of So So Def honcho Jermaine Dupri.
Kris Kross’ accompanying videos for ‘Jump’ and ‘Warm It Up’ also introduced the world to the duo’s unique fashion style of wearing their clothes backwards. Both videos were heavily-rotated after they debuted.
Director Rich Murray, who shot most of Kris Kross’ videos, was instrumental in bringing the duo’s vision to the masses. In an interview with Video Static, Murray says he was bemused by Kriss Kross’ unique style of wearing their clothes backwards.
“Well, I mean, I took it in,” he recalls. “Me and the cameraman … went to the restroom at the studio and came out with our pants on backwards. We got a great laugh, and we kind of accepted those terms for the rest of the day, but it was very uncomfortable for those fifteen minutes.”
With the ‘Jump,’ Murray wanted to create a simple performance video to introduce Kris Kross to a whole new audience. “I went down to Atlanta with a concept. I literally met them, saw the rehearsal and went back to my hotel, and we shot the next day,” he says. “[Those] guys [were] so incredibly charismatic and, to use the word, cute.”
Murray shot the ‘Jump’ video for $21,000, a paltry fee considering today’s video budgets, but it was effective. While Kris Kross’ label wanted a grandiose visual, Murray was able to streamline it and get plenty of scenic shots in despite a few technical difficulties.
“On the Kris Kross videos, there was always some circumstance,” explains Murray. “We went to Atlanta to shoot the first one, and it snowed for the first time in Atlanta in, I don’t know, 20 years. We had significant snowfall, so we worked with it. We used the snow in that video, and then the second video [‘Warm It Up’] was actually supposed to be shot in L.A., the budget was like three or four times the budget of the first video, and three days before the shoot, the L.A. riots broke out.”
This year marks the 20th anniversary of So So Def. To celebrate, Dupri is presenting an All-Star Anniversary Concert in Atlanta on Feb. 23. The show will also feature an onstage reunion of Kris Kross. Murray is thrilled that Mac Daddy and Daddy Mac will make people jump once more for old times sake.
“It’s great to see Kris Kross getting together to do a show,” he says. “I know some people will say, ‘novelty act reunion, who cares?’ But what I remember from the years we worked together is how truly talented they were — and at such a young age. True talent is never out of fashion, so who knows, this could be a new chapter for them. It wouldn’t surprise me.”
Watch Kris Kross’ ‘Jump’ Video
Watch Kris Kross’ ‘Warm It Up’ Video