Screenshot: YouTube

It’s 3 p.m.! Let The A.V. Club briefly make use of the waning hours of your productivity with some pop culture ephemera pulled from the depths of YouTube.

In attendance at this weekend’s BET Awards will be any number of rappers inspired and influenced by rock music—from self-appointed “Rock N Roll Hall of Fame” members Rae Sremmurd, to Lil Uzi Vert, who refers to himself as the “last living rockstar.” One of the past year’s most ubiquitous rap radio hits was even called “Rockstar.” Lil Wayne will likely also be there, although his dalliances with rock probably did as much to destroy his career as Cash Money Records ever could.

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Back in 2003, however, if you wanted some rock at your BET Awards, you needed third-string pop-punk band Alien Ant Farm to set up shop across the street from the then-Kodak Theatre, and play their song “These Days” over and over until they got arrested in the service of shooting a deeply uncomfortable music video:

According to Genius, the band played a setlist of “These Days,” followed by “These Days,” and an encore performance of “These Days” before being mercifully arrested in one of the LAPD’s more noble acts of the era.

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There are a few glaring issues here. For starters the song is awful, evidence of what Alien Ant Farm sounds like when they don’t have a Michael Jackson hook to lean on. Seen among confused onlookers like Snoop Dogg, Nelly, Pharrell, and Lil Jon, Killer Mike summed up the whole thing nicely to MTV News:

AAF left many on the carpet speechless, but not Killer Mike. “This is amazing,” he said, pumping his fist to the tune. “Tell these guys I want to tour with them!

“First they stole Michael Jackson’s single [’Smooth Criminal’], now they’re stealing LaToya Jackson’s final moment in the spotlight,” Mike added, joking about the Jackson sister who curiously made media rounds at the show.

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(Perhaps Mike was just mad Alien Ant Farm didn’t have to add lyrics about John Madden to their contribution to the just-released Madden NFL 2004 soundtrack.)

There’s also the implication by the video’s premise that this is somehow “real” music, pitched in opposition to what was being celebrated at the BET Awards. But Alien Ant Farm guitarist Terry Corso seemed more oblivious than ill-intentioned. In another MTV News interview, Corso discussed the filming of the video along with similar stunts pulled at a Justin Timberlake concert and Los Angeles’ annual Pride parade (yeesh.) Regarding the Pride parade, Corso said, “We thought it would be funny to just go down the parade on a float, appreciating diversity and jamming on our instruments.”

As for the BET Awards, Corso was similarly supportive.

“We’re all into different types of hip-hop and R&B,” he said, seemingly unable to conceive of a good thing that could not be made better by adding Alien Ant Farm. In 2003, this was a surprisingly valid idea. If you look at things that way, 2018's not so bad, after all!

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