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LOST TREASURES: Alternate Rap Lyrics

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In this edition of Lost Treasures we wipe the cobwebs off an art-form that is rarely used in music these days–alternate lyrics in hip-hop. Today when an explicit-filled rap song is played on the television or radio (or even ring tone), the clean-version will usually sound something like this, “Yo, I was messin’ wit that mutha [silence] [silence], she was suckin’ my [silence] cause I’m mutha [silence] rich.” Some songs have so many edits in them, it almost sounds like the emcee has a chronic case of the hiccups. If the original is minced to pieces, why even release a censored-version of a song? Why not just keep it “street” and maintain its explicit purity?

(above: Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg were more profound when they censored themselves.)

Well, it’s usually the heavy radio rotation and music videos spins that make an artist–um–mutha [silence] rich! Also, f-bombs and slang for female anatomy usually don’t go over well at wedding receptions or major sporting events. If you want to make it big, you gotta be able to juggle the street-version with the clean-version, and these days the latter just requires a tap of the mute button.

LOST TREASURE: Alternate Rap Lyrics

Back in the day, rap groups weren’t so lazy. They too chased the almighty dollar bill, but they did it in a more creative way, crafting together alternate lyrics for their radio-edits. One of the most talented groups was Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg. In the early 90’s just about everyone owned a copy of The Chronic–west coat hip-hop’s magnum opus. Dre and Snoop were seen daily on MTV, which played hit after hit from the album. I’m sure many suburbanites were shocked when they actually bought The Chronic and listened to all of the blush-inducing expletives contained within it. Middle-Americans were probably fooled, because Dre and Snoop cleverly changed all of the cuss words for their radio singles (which sadly aren’t even available anymore).

Looking back, I almost wish Dre and Snoop would have released The Chronic in its edited form (and I’m not talking about an explicit and clean version–just one version–sans the swears). I always feel cuss words are a lot more powerful when used with discretion. If you really need to drop the f-bomb, drop it when it counts. If you use it every couple of sentences, our four-letter friend has about as much impact as a teenage girl saying the word “cool” or “awesome.”

I call Dre and Snoop’s alternate lyrics an “art-form,” because what they did was not easy. They had to find a “clean” word or phrase and plug into a pocket where there was once an expletive, yet, maintain the song’s original message and vibe. It was a fine balancing act of piecing together a puzzle, solving a logic problem, and maintaining their street credibility, all while simultaneously appealing to the masses.


Here’s a sample of Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg’s handiwork on the classic cut, “Nuthin’ but a G Thang”:

Now you know I ain’t with that shit, Lieutenant
Ain’t no pussy good enough to get burnt while I’m up in it.

Now what she burnin’ I’m a chill for a minute
Cause ain’t no lovin’ good enough to get burnt while I’m up in it.

In the censored version, the theme of “love” makes Snoop seem a little more profound.

I think they in a mood for some motherfuckin’ G shit.

I think they in a mood for another one of those G hits.

If given the choice, I think I would be more in the mood for a G hit, than G shit. Also, you got to love Snoop working the anagram in the clean version–taking “shit” and rewording it into “hits.”

It’s where it takes place so when asked, yo’ attention
Mobbin’ like a muh’fucker, but I ain’t lynchin’

It’s where it takes place so when asked, yo’ attention
Mobbin’ with the Dogg Pound, BOW-WOW-WOW!

Not even close. To this day, even if I’m listening to the uncensored version, I’ll yell out “BOW-WOW-WOW!”

Try to get close and you’re bound to get smacked
My motherfuckin’ homie Doggy Dogg’s got my back.

Try to get close and you’re bound to get smacked
My little homie Snoop Doggy Dogg’s got my back

Little homie says a lot more than motherfuckin’ homie. Dre’s endearing use of the phrase “little homie” makes it sounds like he was being protective of his new rap protégé, which sent out the subtle message, “If you mess with Snoop, you’re messin’ with me.”

It’s like this and like that and like this and uh
It’s like that and like this and like that and uh
It’s like this, and who gives a fuck about hoes?
So just chill till the next episode

It’s like this and like that and like this and uh
It’s like that and like this and like that and uh
It’s like this, and we don’t got no love for those
So just chill till the next episode.

“We don’t got no love for those” sounds way more intelligent than “Who gives a fuck about hoes?” Also, by eliminating the “hoes” line, Dre comes off a little less misogynistic and more of a bad ass with the open-ended “no love for those,” leaving fellow emcees, gangstas, and suburbanites alike wondering if they fell into the “those” category.



Reminders that the ’90s were a thing

"The Place We Live" is available for a Jessie Spano-level binge on Comedy Crib.

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Unless you stopped paying attention to the world at large in 1989, you are of course aware that the ’90s are having their pop cultural second coming. Nobody is more acutely aware of this than Dara Katz and Betsy Kenney, two comedians who met doing improv comedy and have just made their Comedy Crib debut with the hilarious ’90s TV throwback series, The Place We Live.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Dara: It’s everything you loved–or loved to hate—from Melrose Place and 90210 but condensed to five minutes, funny (on purpose) and totally absurd.

IFC: How would you describe “The Place We Live” to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Betsy: “Hey Todd, why don’t you have a sip of water. Also, I think you’ll love The Place We Live because everyone has issues…just like you, Todd.”


IFC: When you were living through the ’90s, did you think it was television’s golden age or the pop culture apocalypse?

Betsy: I wasn’t sure I knew what it was, I just knew I loved it!

Dara: Same. Was just happy that my parents let me watch. But looking back, the ’90s honored The Teen. And for that, it’s the golden age of pop culture. 

IFC: Which ’90s shows did you mine for the series, and why?

Betsy: Melrose and 90210 for the most part. If you watch an episode of either of those shows you’ll see they’re a comedic gold mine. In one single episode, they cover serious crimes, drug problems, sex and working in a law firm and/or gallery, all while being young, hot and skinny.

Dara: And almost any series we were watching in the ’90s, Full House, Saved By the Bell, My So Called Life has very similar themes, archetypes and really stupid-intense drama. We took from a lot of places. 


IFC: How would you describe each of the show’s characters in terms of their ’90s TV stereotype?

Dara: Autumn (Sunita Mani) is the femme fatale. Robin (Dara Katz) is the book worm (because she wears glasses). Candace (Betsy Kenney) is Corey’s twin and gives great advice and has really great hair. Corey (Casey Jost) is the boy next door/popular guy. Candace and Corey’s parents decided to live in a car so the gang can live in their house. 
Lee (Jonathan Braylock) is the jock.

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Dara: Because everyone’s feeling major ’90s nostalgia right now, and this is that, on steroids while also being a totally new, silly thing.

Delight in the whole season of The Place We Live right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. It’ll take you back in all the right ways.


New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…


IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon.

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number!

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time.

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by.


IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo.

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim.

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t?

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?”

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud.

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.


The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”


Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).



Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.


And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.