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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.

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

Uncensored
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.

Censored
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.

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

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

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

VERDICT
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.”

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

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

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

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

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

VERDICT
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.”

Uncensored
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
.

Censored
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.

VERDICT
“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.

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

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Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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