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Home --> Politics --> Humor --> Takin' the Rap

Takin' the Rap

Claim:   E-mail offers an Oakland high school student's Ebonics competition-winning translations of rap lyrics.

Status:   False.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, 1997]

This paper was turned in by an Oakland high school student who received the highest honors at the school district's Ebonics translation competition.



Assignment: Please translate the following Rap song lyrics from Ebonics to standard English.

Artist: Notorious B.I.G.
Album: Ready to Die
Song: One more chance (remix)

Lyrics:

First things first, I poppa, freaks all the honeys
Dummies — playboy bunnies, those wantin' money
Those the ones I like 'cause they don't get nathan'
But penetration, unless it smells like sanitation
Garbage, I turn like doorknobs
Heart throb, never, black and ugly as ever
However, I stay coochied down to the socks
Rings and watch filled with rocks

TRANSLATION:

As a general rule, I perform deviant sexual acts with women of all kinds, including but not limited to those with limited intellect, nude magazine models, and prostitutes. I particularly enjoy sexual encounters with the latter group as they are generally disappointed in the fact that they only receive penile intercourse and nothing more, unless of course, they douche on a consistent basis. Although I am extremely unattractive, I am able to engage in these types of sexual acts with some regularity. Perhaps my sexuality is somehow related to my fancy and expensive jewelry.

Lyrics:

And my jam knock in the Mitsubishi
Girls pee pee when they see me,
Nava-hoes creep me in they tee pee
As I lay down laws like I lay carpet
Stop it — if you think your gonna make a profit

TRANSLATION:

I enjoy playing my music loudly on my car stereo. Apparently, women enjoy this also because they become sexually aroused when they see me driving. Oddly enough, when I visit the Native American reservations, some of the more sexually promiscuous Indian women attempt to seduce me in their homes. Their intent is to divest me of my earnings. Such actions are unacceptable.

Lyrics:

Donít see my ones, don't see my guns — get it
Now tell ya friends Poppa hit it then split it
In two as I flow with the Junior Mafia
I don't know what the hellís stoppin' ya
I'm clockin' ya — Versace shades watchin' ya
Once ya grin, I'm in game, begin

TRANSLATION:

Understand this fact: you can have neither my money, nor my weapons. I suggest that you inform your peers that we engaged in violent sexual acts. Currently, I am rapping with my associates, the Junior Mafia. I'm having some difficulty understanding why you refuse to approach me. I am attempting to make eye contact with you through my expensive glasses, and as soon as you respond with a smile, I will approach you.

Lyrics:

First I talk about how I dress and this
And diamond necklaces — stretch Lexuses
The sex is just immaculate from the back I get
Deeper and deeper — help ya reach the
Climax that your man can't make
Call and tell him you'll be home real late
Letís sing the break

TRANSLATION:

I prefer to open the conversation with light banter about my wardrobe and jewelry, then I like to discuss my collection of expensive cars. This is more than enough to convince you to have sexual intercourse with me. I am able to insert my penis further into you when I enter you from behind. Furthermore, you will be able to reach orgasm. I understand this to be a problem with your current sexual partner. He needn't be concerned about your whereabouts. Please phone him and inform him that you won't be home for a while. By the way, please sing the chorus of the song for me also.

Lyrics:

She's sick of that song on how it's so long
Thought he worked his until I handled my biz
There I is — major pain like Damon Wayans
Low down dirty even like his brother Keenan
Schemin' — don't bring your girl 'round me
True player for real, ask Puff Daddy

TRANSLATION:

Your current love interest no longer wishes to hear your fabrications about the length of your member. After I had sexual intercourse with your woman, she became enlightened as to the proper way it is supposed to be performed; violently and immorally. It would be in your best interest to keep your woman away from me as my sexual prowess is very strong. If you are unconvinced, ask Puff Daddy.

Lyrics:

You — ringin' bells with bags from Chanel
Baby Benz, traded in your Hyundai Excel
Fully equipped, CD changer with the cell
She beeped me, meet me at twelve

TRANSLATION:

Despite the fact that you attempted to win her at her doorstep with bags full of expensive clothes and a car (the lower end model Mercedes Benz which you financed by signing over your current vehicle) containing an expensive stereo and a cellular phone, your woman has contacted me through my pager indicating that we should rendezvous at midnight.

Lyrics:

Where you at? Flippin' jobs, playin' car notes?
While I'm swimmin' in ya women like the breast stroke
Right stroke, left stroke, what's the best stroke?
Death stroke — tongue all down her throat
Nuthin' left to do but send her home to you
I'm through — can ya sing the song for me, boo?

TRANSLATION:

You, on the other hand, jump from job to job, barely able to maintain payments on the Mercedes Benz you purchased for your woman. Meanwhile, I continue to engage in sexual intercourse and commit lewd osculatory acts with your women. My only remaining option is to request that she leave my home and return to you because I have reached orgasm and no longer have a need for her presence.

Lyrics:

So, what's it gonna be? Him or me?
We can cruise the world with pearls
Gator boots for girls
The envy of all women, crushed linen
Cartier wrist-wear with diamonds in 'em
The finest women I love with a passion
Ya man's a wimp, I give that ass a good thrashin'

TRANSLATION:

The ultimate decision rests with you. Whom do you choose as your sexual partner? I can take you on cruises around the world. I will dress you in the finest jewelry and footwear. You will be envied by women worldwide in your fine clothes and jewelry. There is a special place in my heart for beautiful women. I will defeat your man in an altercation because he is effeminate.

Lyrics:

High fashion — flyin' into all states.
Sexin' me while your man masturbates.
Isn't this great? Your flight leaves at eight.
Her flight lands at nine, my game just rewinds.
Lyrically I'm supposed to represent.
I'm not only the client, I'm the player president

TRANSLATION:

You will be dressed in finest clothes on the runways of Paris. I will fly you to every state to shop for fine clothes and jewelry. You will enjoy sexual intercourse with me and your man will be forced to pleasure himself through manual stimulation. What a life! Iíll return you to LaGuardia in time to catch your 8 o'clock flight. The timing is perfect because I have scheduled a date with a second woman who arrives at the same gate at 9 o'clock. I'll seduce her in the same way that I seduced you. I rap well and I am a positive reflection of my home town. Not only am I a sexually deviant, misogynistic, immoral, wealthy, male prostitute, but I also sit on the board of directors of the organization that governs others of my kind.

Origins:   It's not uncommon for us to see urban legends transformed into jokes, or jokes rendered as urban legends. (The basic difference is that urban legends are told as true occurrences, while
jokes are understood to be humorous but fictional anecdotes.) The latter process doesn't generally result in much improvement, however — only rarely is the humor of a joke enhanced by prefacing it with a "This is a true story!" tag.

So, we're at a loss to know why someone saw fit to tack a spurious claim about an "Oakland high school Ebonics competition" onto this waggish piece offering translations of rap lyrics into a more standard form of English. The version quoted above has been bouncing around the Internet since 1997, and — although we can't be sure that he was the originator of all the entries — it sounds a lot like a routine comedian Bill Maher typically performs in his stand-up shows, during which he offers "translations of rap lyrics for white people." His performance of such a routine is captured in his most recent TV special, "'I'm Swiss' and Other Treasonable Statements," currently airing on HBO.

Last updated:   4 August 2005

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