Froback Friday is a weekly feature of a music video from the platinum age of hip hop. 1998-2003, when rap was truly crossing over into the mainstream and I was regularly attending middle school dances.
This is a very special Valentine’s Day edition of Froback Friday, with the most romantic song of all time, “Down A** Chick.” Or, occasionally, “Down Ass Bitch.” Off Ja Rule’s third album and second Billboard number one, it’s the best of his many great love songs. It features the best rapper named after a Geena Davis character, and is Charli Baltimore’s second biggest single, after the remix, “Down 4 You.” The song a classic love story, about a man who needs his woman to lie, die and kill for him. Baltimore does all of that and more. “Down Ass Bitch” is better than “’96 Bonnie & Clyde,” “’97 Bonnie & Clyde,” “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” and “Bonnie and Clyde.”
The video is about Ja and Charli executing a jewel heist while the Feds are on their tail. The power couple look at blueprints, schematics and a Nintendo Wii controller before suiting up for the caper. They easily infiltrate the private mansion and find the safe behind a gold-framed Scarface poster. But the diamonds inside are booby trapped and cops arrive at the scene immediately. Baltimore is captured, separating her from the man she is so down for.
After being thrown in the clink and interrogated intensely, she refuses to snitch. When she cries, “Snitches get it back, those whacks to your backs for my booooyyyyyy,” it proves that true love, angels and sunrises are all-encompassingly real. Ja also delivers an enthralling performance yelling into his phone while wearing a du-rag, which no doubt jumpstarted his film career. After a brief stint behind bars, where Baltimore sold cigarettes and braided her hair, she is released to a limo waiting outside the city jail. It takes her to a private jet with Ja waiting inside bearing white hats, ready to fly her to a far-away beach.
When Ja and Charli are sipping Cristal on the beach with their loot however, it is discovered that the FBI agents only released Baltimore so she would lead them to Ja Rule. Detectives Eric Roberts (star of many music videos) and Clarence Williams III (from Mod Squad, Purple Rain, Deep Cover, Half-Baked, and American Gangster) finally get their man. These partners played by character actors appear more down for each other than ever before. Every thug needs a not-necessarily gendered lady. (It’s revealed in the aforementioned “Down 4 You” video that the detectives were merely chasing look-a-likes)