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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.

chronic.jpg

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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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…