Cartoon Black History: Michigan J. Frog
This is a CBH entry that is close to my heart. Not because of his first name, but because Michigan taught me how to be dapper and how to get over on your opponents.
His song and dance was instrumental in making “Hello, my baby/Hello, my honey/Hello, my ragtime gal” the most racially offensive lyrics ever (until Plies started recording songs, that is). But I was too young to understand there was a method to the madness.
Harry, the singularly eyebrowed gentleman in the background, paid off a lot of people to have Mr. Frog join his record label Gettin’ It In Ent. Though he liked the money, Michigan hated that song and vowed payback for having to perform it. Nevertheless, the buzz leading up to his show was unparalleled.
The stage was set… 100,000+ adoring fans… record executives from GII Ent. waiting to boast about their new golden boy… all the cameras on him waiting to hear the Billboard topping song that took the nation by storm…
…and he croaked (HA!). That’s Harry trying to help him up, but to no avail. Boos rained down and Michigan was initially seen as a laughing stock. Critics began calling him “Murda Mich” implying he killed his career (a name that stuck when he decided to start rapping later in life). But neither the critics, Harry nor the Gettin’ It In execs knew what MJ was actually up to.
He made several backroom deals with iTunes and put his music up on the internet. Simultaneously, his “performance” caused in-fighting between Harry and GII until they parted ways. Neither survived and that began the end for record companies as a whole. I came to find out that was Mr. Frog’s plan the entire time! He even bought his own station with just the iTunes sales.