Today I’m going back to school…by kickin’ it old school.

The first thing that popped into my head when I read this week’s rather vague but simple League topic of “Back to School” was this song by the short-lived, early 90s hip hop group, Fifth Platoon (who are evidently so obscure they don’t even have a Wikipedia page–somebody needs to get on that):


TMNT fans should recognize it from the soundtrack to the 1991 sequel film, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. It has hokey lyrics like “Back to school, ’cause it’s cool–don’t be no fool!” and talks about Trapper Keepers and video games. Basically everything that was important to me in fifth grade, which is when this movie came out.

Raph & Keno

I’ve always been fascinated by the reasons behind why songs get chosen for movie soundtracks and how they’re used in the film. “Back to School” can be heard briefly during the part where Raph and Keno stake out the Foot Clan’s hideout, which I always thought was kind of funny in the context of the scene. After a sarcastic exchange with Raph in which he acts like he knows everything, Keno infiltrates The Foot in an attempt to let himself get recruited, but panics during the bell test–something he couldn’t have passed without Raph’s help, of course–so I always took it to mean that Raph had “schooled” him; or at least that’s my own silly interpretation of why this song is on the soundtrack.

The real reason is probably much simpler: the song is kid-friendly hip hop with a positive message, and I’m guessing it was super cheap to get the rights to. Whatever the actual reason, I do like this song quite a bit and couldn’t imagine The Secret of the Ooze soundtrack without it. It’s a shame Fifth Platoon fizzled as a hip hop group because I really dig their old school sound and the whole party vibe they had going on, which can also be heard on their moderately successful but still pretty obscure single “Partyline” and its even rarer but bangin’ b-side, “Hallelujah The Fifth is Here.”

I had both Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie soundtracks on cassette tape and played them so much I destroyed the tapes. The perforated, fold-out inserts were also a wreck as I used to spread them out on my bed and read along with the lyrics and look at the photos as I listened to the album. In fact, I still listen to both of these soundtracks on a regular basis (and to a much lesser extent, the TMNT III soundtrack, which sucks and is full of filler) only now I stream them from Google Music.

The technology has changed, but my love for cheesy movie soundtracks lives on.

I’ll trade you my Fruit By the Foot for your Turtle Pie…

Wondering what this is all about? This week, The League of Extraordinary Bloggers is going back to school, interpreting the topic however we wish! Here’s who I’m giving extra credit to: