Faces of Math.
Just like Comic Books, Mortal Kombat, and the Big Mac Snack Wrap, it’s on the perennial list of things that will likely make your kids end up a felon or teenage pregnant; whichever is worse, and regardless of gender. But it’s par for the course whenever a new and controversial new medium of expression becomes popular, there’s initially outrage, which is followed by acceptance, which is then followed by exploitation. One need look no further than biblical comics, Mortal Kombat Jr. Math, and the Big Mac Snack Wrappers Kids Meal.
When this came out in 1998, it was well within the ~5 years to mainstream acceptance American curve, after which exploitation began. Put sunglasses and a plaid button-up on your cereal mascots, and you had a surefire sales success. Especially if he reminded you to stay in school, stay out of gangs, and most importantly eat your breakfast because it is the most important meal of the day; not to mention the profitable meal of the day for Kelloggs.
The particular package I got had four cassette tapes and this VHS. Of the cassettes, it was Multiplication Rap, Division Rap, the States and Capitals rap, and a cassette just titled “Spanish.” All of the Cassettes have a corresponding 64-odd page book, and also included is a sick-ass wall poster reminding you where multiplication stands in the thermometer of mainstream acceptance.
It’s almost kind of shocking they couldn’t get a sterile-looking black dude to do this video, considering the likes of Don’t Copy That Floppy or even Mr. T’s Be Somebody or Be Somebody’s Fool. Instead, we get a white dude by the name of “DJ Doc Roc” who is apparently part of the “Get Smart Crew.”
I’m not entirely sure if it’s possible to put any more bleach on that whitebread.
This project could be considered ever-so-slightly ahead of its time, as it featured post Run DMC/Aerosmith rap AND rock in the same “jam”. Papa Roach’s debut wouldn’t come out for another couple years, nor Linkin Park or any of their nu-rap-metal contemporaries. I am relatively certain, however, that a song about multiples of 9 would not have made the Billboard Hot 200. At least not before the Nerdcore fad of 2007-ish, bringing us hundreds of songs with millions of Youtube views and near-zero record sales. Which is still enough to get you to 198 on the Billboard charts, with today’s piracy rates.
FINAL VERDICT: I still struggle with seven times six, so I’m going to go ahead and say this isn’t a very effective learning tool. It would seem their contemporaries agree.