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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sources Of The Movie Big's Rap Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop, Part 3

Written by Azizi Powell

This is Part 3 of a 3 part series on Sources Of The [1988] Movie Big's Rap Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop.

Part 1 of this post provides my general comments about children's playground rhymes. In that first part of this post, I also provided the words to three examples of the movie Big's "Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop" rap. Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2011/12/sources-of-big-movie-rap-shimmy-shimmy.html for
Sources Of The Movie Big's Rap "Shimmy Shimmy Cocoa Pop" Part 1.

Parts 2 & 3 include examples of older playground rhymes that are probable sources for or have some very similar words as the movie Big's rap "Shimmy Shimmy Cocoa Pop". Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2011/12/sources-of-big-movie-rap-shimmy-shimmy_11.html for Part 2 of this post.

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PART 3
METHOD OF POSTING EXAMPLES FROM SELECTED RHYMES
The featured line or phrase is given in capital letters, followed by numbered lines from the three examples of the movie Big's "Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop" rap found in Part 1. The title of selected examples of "source rhymes" is given in capital letters followed by the code SR ("source rhyme" or "selcted rhyme") and an assigned number. These numbers are used consecutively throughout Parts 2-3 of this post. In each example, the focus line is given in italics to highlight that line.

ICE CREAM, SODA POP, VANILLA ON THE TOP

The lines "ice cream, soda pop, vanilla on top" is given as lines 7 and 8 of Example #1 of that rap. Those lines are also given as lines 11 and 12 of Examples #2 and #3 of that rap.

Refer back to SR #8 for a source example of those lines. Here's another source example of those lines:

"Ice Cream Soda"
The line "ice cream, soda pop, vanilla on the top" probably comes from this children's jump rope rhyme:

Source Rhyme #10:
"ICE CREAM" -
iIce cream soda
with the cherry on top

Tell me the name
of your sweetheartt.
A B C D E F G H etc.
Brenda Brenda
Do you love Kenny?
Yes, no, maybe so.
Yes, no, maybe so.
How many children will you have?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.
Source: Let's Slice The Ice (Eleanor Fulton and Pat Smith; St. Louis, Missouri; Magnamusic-Baton; 1978; p. 29 [This is a collection of African Americans' children rhymes from various states; hereafter given as "Slice The Ice", with the example's page number]

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OOH, SHELLY'S OUT WALKING DOWN THE STREET; 10 TIMES A WEEK
The lines "ooh Shelly's out walking down the street/10 times a week is given as lines 9 and 1O of Example #1 of that rap.

The very similar lines "Ooh Shelly, walking down the street/ten times a week!" is given as lines 13 and 14 of Examples #2 and #3 of that rap.

I believe that "Ooh Shelly" is a folk etymology form of the phrase "I'll be". That phrase changed to "ah beep beep", in part because of the popularity of the 1968 Latin Boogaloo song "Bang Bang" by the Joe Cuba sextet. That song has the very infectious chanted chorus "beep beep! aaaaaah! beep beep ah!).

The "Ah Beep Beep"/ "I'll Be" rhymes often include the word "ungawa".
-snip-
[Update June 24, 2017]
Although it may be possible that the phrase "Oh Shelly" [or "Oh Shalida" or some similar sounding female name] is a folk processed form of the words "I'll be", it's also possible that those words are a folk processed form of the words "ah beep beep" came from the popularity of Donna Summer's song "Bad Girls". The words "Toot toot, hey, beep beep" and "beep beep uh-huh" are repeated in that hit record which also talked about girls "out on the street."

Girls hearing this song used the positive African American meaning of the word "bad" and ignored the part of those lyrics that said "talking ’bout the sad girls".

While it's probably that the 1968 Latin Boogaloo song "Bang Bang" contributed to the public's familiarity with the phrase "ah beep beep", that record wasn't the direct source for the "ah beep beep "phrase in children's rhymes. "Beep beep' is the sound of men honking their car horns at "bad girls" (i.e. prostitutes) who were "walking the streets", looking for customers. The horn honks were a sign that the men liked how the prostitutes were dressed and/or looked.

However, look at how closely the beginning words of the rhyme in the 1988 movie Big fit the beginning word for this street rhyme that is published in a 1973 book: [also given as Source rhyme #11 below]

[no title given]
I'll be I'll be
Walking down the street,
Ten times a week.
Un-gah-wah, un-gah-wah (baby)
This is my power.
What is the story?
What is the strike?
I said it, I meant it,
I really represent it.
Take a cool, cool Black to knock me down.
Take a cool, cool Black to knock me down.
I'm sweet, I'm kind.
I'm soul sister number nine.
Don't like my apples,
Don't shake my tree.
I'm a Castle Square Black.
Don't miss with me.
-John Langstaff and Carol Langstaff, editors Shimmy Shimmy Coke -Ca-Pop!: A Collection Of City Children's Street Games And Rhymes (New York, Doubleday & Company, 1973, p. 57)
-end of update-

"Umgawa" is a word that was coined in 1932 by Cyril Humes, a MGM screenwriter, for the Tarzan movies. In July 2004, Dr Techie, a commenter on http://wordoriginsorg.yuku.com/topic/8045/Umgawa#.VcFKDf3wtv4
wrote "For his books [about the fictitious character Tarzan], (Edgar Rice) Burroughs, created a complete ape language. Hume, who adapted Tarzan, the Ape Man (1932) for the screen, reduced Tarzan's language abilities considerably by inventing the all-purpose command Ungawa, which could mean up, down, halt or go."
-snip-
"Umgawa" was formed by changing one letter of the Kiswahili word "ungawa". The English translation of "ungawa" means "entangled". A similarly spelled word "ugawa" means "grouping". There is no word spelled "umgawa" in Swahili.
For the purposes of the Tarzan movies, the word "umgawa" could mean anything that the writers wanted it to mean. Although the original English spelling of the word in the Tarzan movies was "umgawa", "ungawa" is the spelling that has most often been used in the United States for this word.

Here's my transcription of a video clip that provides information about the Hollywood appropriation of the Swahili word "umgawa":
From https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkRtsJtWVEU
Scott Tracy Griffin [White male], [identified as] Edgar Eice Burrough’s historian:
“The films used a combination of Swahili and made up words. One of my favorites is “Umgawa” which can mean anything we want it to mean. [smiling] It means “stop”, go away, come here, danger, or “Elephant, carry boy to safety.” [laughing]. “Umgawa” is a terrific word and is another one of our cultural touchstones. [.27]

[Another speaker: a White male]- “Originally, it meant “Get down”. But as time progressed, as the movies went on, it seemed to have a multiple layer of meaning. [chuckling]

[scenes from Tarzan movie: Tarzan talking to animals and to Black people in movies]

[same White male speaker] “And it became, you know, “Umgawa!” and everybody just rose to the occasion. [laughing] And they went into action.

[Video clip ends with a scene of Tarzan and Jane talking in a made up language].
-snip-
In the late 1960s & early 1970s, afro-centric African Americans took hold of that word and included it in a rhyme that both celebrated Black power and dared White people to challenge them for that pride. A common verse in those rhymes was "Ungawa!"/"Black power!" or "Ungawa/"We got the power" (with "power" in both examples pronounced like "po-wah").

Here are some examples of what I believe are probable source versions of the "Aah Beep Beep"/"Ungawa" rhymes:

Source Rhyme #11:
[no title given]
I'll be, be,
Walking down the street,
Ten times a week.
Un-gawa, un-gawa, (baby)
This is my power.
What is the story?
What is the strike?
I said 1t I meant it.
I really represent it.
Take a cool, cool Black
to knock to knock me down.
Take a cool, cook Black to knock me out.
I'm sweet, I'm kind,
I'm soul sister number nine.
Don't like my apples,
Don't shake my tree,
I'm a Castle Square Black,
Don't mess with me.
Source: Shimmy Shimmy Coke-Ca-Pop! A Collection of City Children's Street Ganes and Rhymes (John Langstaff and Carol Langstaff: Garden City, New York, Doubleday & Company,1973; p. 57)

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Source Rhyme #12:
"AH BEEP BEEP"
Ah Beep Beep
Walkin down the street

Ugawa. Ugawa
That means Black power.
White boy.
Destroy..
I said it. I meant it
And I'm here to represent it.
Soul sister number 9
Sock it to me one more time.
Uh hun! Uh Hun!
Source: Tracey S.,(African American female}; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; childhood remembrance,1968); collected by Azizi Powell, 2000

Editor: Comments that the informant shared with me about that rhyme can be found on this Mudcat thread that I started: http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=112857#2392802 Number Nine In Songs & Rhymes

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Source Rhyme #13:
"AH BEEP BEEP"
Ah beep beep, walking down the street
10 times a week

Ungawa, black power, Puerto Rican power
I said it, I meant it and now I represent it"
-Yasmin Hernadez, memories of childhood in a mixed Latina/o and African American neighborhood of New York City, 1980s; http://www.cocojams.com (School yard taunts page)

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Source Rhyme #11:
"AH BEEP BEEP"
OMG i'm finally remembering it...
ahh beep beep walkin down the street
10 times a week...

ungawa, ungawa this is black power
destroy
white boy

i said it
i meant it
i really represent it

i'm a soul soul sista from a soul soul town

aint too many sista gonna keep me down.

if you don't like my apples
don't shake my tree

cuz i'm a soul soul sista named... Ja-nie

LOL
again i'm not black.
-Guest, janie (Guest, duh) http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=6600 Downtown Baby; 2/29/2009

Note: There are two entries from that guest of that rhyme. The first entry was incomplete. Also, there are several other very similar examples of this rhyme (including one with the "n word)" and all of those examples "happen" to be from New York City. This may be an interesting coincidence or it may be the New York City area is where that rhyme originated.

I READ IT! I SAID IT!/ I STOLE MY MOMMA'S CREDIT!
These lines are given in lines 11 and 12 of Example #1 of the movie Big's "Shimmy Shimmy Cocoa Pop" rap.

I READ IT! I SAID IT!/ I STOLE MY MOMMA'S CREDIT!
These lines are given in lines 15 and 16 in Examples #2 and #3 of that rap.

Comment: I believe that both of those verses are folk etymology forms of the African American folk saying "I said it/ I meant it/ (and) I'm here to represent it."

Refer to Source Rhymes #11-#14 for examples of that saying in children's playground rhymes.

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I'M COOL I'M HOT/SOCK ME IN THE STOMACH THREE MORE TIMES
These lines are given in lines 13 and 14 of Example #1 of the movie Big's "Shimmy Shimmy Cocoa Pop" rap and in lines 17 and 18 of Examples #2 and #3 of that rap.

Comment:
"I'm cool! I'm hot!" are examples of African American slang that were added to this rap because of their cultural cache. There are a lot of contemporary playground rhymes that refer to punching someone in the body. The line "sock it to me one more time" as found in the movie Big's rap, refers to punching someone. However, that's not the original meaning of the African American slang phrase "sock it to me".

"Hit me with it one more time" and "give it to me one more time" are sayings that had the same African American vernacular meaning as "sock it to me". None of those lines had nothing whatsoever to do with physically hitting someone. I associate "sock it to me" with Aretha Franklin's late 1960s hit song "Respect". In one part of that song she repeatedly sings "sock it to me". In that song "sock it to me" means "give it to me". I can leave it to your imagination as to what "it" is.

I also associate that saying most with superstar R&B singer James Brown's instruction to his drummer to "Hit me with it one time (and the drummer would play one beat). Then James Brown would say "Hit me with it two times" and the drummer would play two beats etc.

Here are two examples of playground rhymes that include the line "sock it to me". The first example also includes the line "I'm cool and calm" which is very similar to the "I'm cool. I'm hot" line in the movie Big's rap.

Source Rhyme #15:
"AHH BEEP BEEP"
Ahh, Beep Beep!
Walking down the street
Ten times a week
Ungawa!
Black Power!
Destroy!
White Boy!
I said it, I meant it
I'm here to represent it
I'm cool, I'm calm
I'm Soul Sister Number Nine
Sock it to me one more time!

Uh-Uh! Good God!

(from Brooklyn, New York in the early 70's...the Brownsville version:

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Source Rhyme #16
"SOUL SISTER NUMBER 9"
Soul sister number 9
sock it to me one more time
said, un ungawa we got the power*
said un ungawa we got the power
Little Sally Walker’s walking down the street
She didn’t know what to do
so she jumped in front of me
She said, “Go on girl do your thing
Do your thing do your thing
Go on girl do your thing
Do your thing do your thing. Stop!
-The School Of Rock transcript embedded in video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvGia9u1McM 2003 American movie[This video is reposted below]

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VIDEO
Soul Sister Number Nine (?)



Uploaded by rachelarmstrong on Jan 24, 2008

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