Lil Mama, come back! The world needs you now, just as much as Avril needed you in 2007.
In its original incarnation, “Girlfriend” was a perfectly adequate pop song, with Lavigne stomping and chanting in “sassy” mode. But chanting isn’t rapping, and cowriter/producer Dr. Luke had the supremely good sense to remix the song with Lavigne’s verses swapped out for rapid-fire spitting by the hip-hop artist who had redefined “sassy” with her tauntingly minimalist brag about slick lips. Lil Mama finally released a complete album, the uneven VYP (Voice of the Young People), the following year, but she’s never been better than she was as Avril’s “Girlfriend” foil.
The video, directed by R. Malcolm Jones, has the odd couple cruising around in a convertible and even cuter modes of transport (scooters, etc). Lavigne rocks her signature emo-schoolgirl look and generally hangs out looking Canadian while Lil Mama rocks out in high Brooklyn style with hoop earrings, chains, off-the-shoulder sweats, and unmistakable hand gestures. “When you see me in the drop-top shades in the summertime blazin’, you wanna be my boyfriend.” Sorry, Avril, looks like you’re second in line again.
Of course, that hypothetical guy choosing between leaving his girl for Avril or for Lil Mama might have had a suspicion that there would be more drama involved in a relationship with Lil Mama than with Avril, “Why’d you have to go and make things so complicated?!” Lavigne — and he would probably have been right. Since 2007, Lavigne went on to end her marriage with bad boy Deryck Whibley and released an album that, despite (or perhaps because of) being a stripped-down effort called Goodbye Lullaby, vaulted into platinum status. Meanwhile, Lil Mama’s album was a critical and commercial disappointment; in recent years she’s been best known for crashing Jay-Z’s set during the 2009 VMAs and for weeping with emotion when a Brooklyn team performed on America’s Best Dance Crew.
Pull it together, Lil Mama! We want you back.