Thursday, January 12, 2012

Children's Cheers Or Rhymes Inspired By Popular Records

Edited by Azizi Powell

Kool & the Gang: Hollywood Swinging (Live from New Orleans 1984)

Johan Nilsson, Uploaded on Aug 5, 2010

One of the funkiest songs ever made! Live from New Orleans in 1984.

This post features five examples of playground rhymes or cheers that were inspired at least in part by a R&B, Rock, or Hip-Hop record. These examples are posted in chronological order with one example of the children's rhyme given after the embedded video of that record. The category of rhyme or cheer is given in brackets after the example's title. For the sake of brevity, my editorial comments about the text (words of the example) are only given for the last featured playground cheer.

Click the links that are provided for additional information & versions of the children's playground cheers & rhymes featured on this page, and for other children's playground cheers & rhymes.


Example #1
See video of "Hollywood Swingin" that is posted above.

HOLLYWOOD ROCK SWINGING [no category given]*
Hollywood rock swinging
Hollywood rock swinging

My name is Aniesha
I'm number one
My reputation is having fun
So if you see my just step aside
'Cause mighty Aniesha don't take no jive

Hollywood rock swinging
Hollywood rock swinging

My name is Katrina
I'm number two
My reputation is me and you
So if you see me just step on back
'Cause mighty Katrina don't take no slack

Hollywood rock swinging
Hollywood rock swinging

My name is Natasha
I'm number twelve
My reputation is ringing that bell
So if you see me just step aside
'Cause mighty Natasha don't take no jive
-Barbara Michels, Bettye White, editors (Apples On A Stick, The Folklore of Black Children; Coward-McCann, Inc, 1983, p.14)

*"Hollywood Swingin" ("Hollywood Rock Swingin" and other similar names) appears to usually be performed as a partner handclap rhyme. However, in the mid 1980s I observed African American girls chanting a very similar composition as a foot stomping cheer.

Example #2
Queen - 'We Will Rock You' (1974)

Uploaded by queenofficial on Aug 1, 2008

The official 'We Will Rock You' music video. Taken from Queen - 'Greatest Video Hits 1'.

WE WILL ROCK YOU (cheerleader cheer)
hey...this is a foot stompin cheer.........
we will we wil rock you down
shake you up like a volcano will arupt
sooo fassin ur seat belt
step on the gass
(team names) will kick your (run up and smack your butt}
every body you think ur bad
you think ur mean
richards red raiders are the number 1 team
-Tori; ; 10/28/2006

Example #3
New Edition - Candy Girl official video (1983)

Uploaded by dakwa4life on Mar 19, 2009

CANDY GIRL (foot stomping cheer)
Candy girl, all my world,
look so sweet special treat
this is the way we (then they name a dance i.e the whop)
Candy girl
do the whop the whop
all my world
do the whop whop
look so sweet
do the whop the whop
special treat
do the whop the whop...
goes on with different dances mostly what is in at the time.
-Guest KLC,(East Harlem, New York, New York); ; Folklore: Do kids still do clapping rhymes? ; July 11, 2008

Example #4
A Fly Girl - The Boogie Boys (1985)

Uploaded by djbuddyloverootsrap on Apr 25, 2011

FLY GIRL (foot stomping cheer)
All except the soloist: Fly girl
Fly girl
Fly girl One
Fly girl Two
Pump it up Teresa
See what you do.
Soloist #1 (Oh) my name is Teresa
and I’m a fly girl
It takes a lot of men
to rock my world.
‘cause I can fly like a butterfly
sting like a bee
and that’s way they call me
-TMP, (African American female, memories of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, mid 1980s);

(This foot stomping cheer repeats from the beginning with the next soloist who gives her name or nickname and says the same words as found above. This pattern continues until everyone in the group has one turn as the soloist).

Another Bad Creation - Playground (1991)

Uploaded by AnotherBCreationVEVO on Dec 24, 2009

PLAYGROUND (foot stomping cheer)
All: I’ve fallin. I can‘t get up.
I’ve fallin. I can‘t get up.
Smack, Jack! Homie don’t play that.
Kick off your shoes (or "Put up your dukes")
And let’s get loose!
All except the soloist whose is indicated by the first letter of her name or nickname:
Kick it "T", Kick it T! Kick it T!
Bust it "T", Bust it "T", Bust it!
Swing it "T", Swing it "T", Swing it!
Soloist: I swing my beat at the playground!

(Repeat the entire rhyme with next soloist, andcontinue repeating in this manner until
every one in the group has had one turn as the soloist). The beat used for this cheer is stompstomp clap stompstomp clap.
-African American girls ages 7-12 years old; Lillian Taylor Camp (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, early 1990s; collected by TMP);

Text Analysis:
“Playground” is a dance style foot stomping cheer that demonstrates the creative way that children’s folk rhymes and cheers are created from a number of different mass media sources. That cheer has the same tune as the 1991 hit rap song “Playground” by ABC (Another Bad Creation), a group of young African American teenage boys.
ABC's "Playground". In addition, that foot stomping cheer uses the title of that recorded song and includes lyrics from that song, beginning with “Kick off your shoes and let’s get loose”.

However, that foot stomping cheer also includes lines from other sources. The lines “I’ve fallin’ and I can’t get up” are from a low budget television commercial for security telephone equipment for the elderly. That commercial featured an elderly woman falling down and then saying those exact words. In a weird way, that commercial struck some people’s funny bone.

“Smack, Jack. Homey don’t play that” was the signature lines of “Homie D. Clown”, a character created by comedian Damon Wayans on the innovative comedy television show "In Living Color". Unable to find any other job after being released from prison, Homie worked as a clown at little children’s birthday parties. But Homie had no aptitude for leading children’s party activities and no patience with the little children’s constant questions. At regular intervals in the party, when children asked Homie questions, he would smack them with a plastic baseball bat. Also, Homie would refuse to perform expected “clown” activities at those children's paries. For instance, if a child asked him to make shapes out of balloons, Homie would smack him or her with his baseball bat and say “Homie don’t play that”. "Homie don't play that" became an African American vernacular. That line means that it's unthinkable for you to do what you've been asked to do (it's against your essential nature).

In the context of this foot stomping cheer, “Bust it!”, "Swing it!”, and “Kick it!” all mean “Show us how well you dance.”

"She kicked her beat" means that the girl danced really well.

Thanks for reading this post.

Click for a related text analysis post on children's playground rhymes.

Viewer comments are welcome.

No comments:

Post a Comment