Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Slang Meaning Of "Bad" In Songs & Playground Cheers

Edited by Azizi Powell

Michael Jackson BAD (Kids Version)

Uploaded by kcataylo on Feb 6, 2008

This post showcases three videos of songs that contain the African American slang word "bad". This post also showcases one video & three foot stomping cheers that contain the African American slang word "bad".

The content of this post is presented for historical, educational, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes. The copyrights remain with their owners.

My thanks to the known and unknown composers of these songs & cheers. My thanks also to the performers of these songs & cheers, as well as to the producers & uploaders of these videos, and the contributors of these cheer examples.

"Bad" = very good (according to the value system of those conferring that descriptor)

Video #1: Michael Jackson – Bad

Uploaded by michaeljacksonVEVO on Oct 3, 2009

Music video by Michael Jackson performing Bad. © 1987 MJJ Productions Inc.

Video #2: Michael Jackson BAD (Kids Version)
This video is posted at the top of this page.

This performance is a parody of Michael Jackson's hit song "Bad". The rendition of that song is entitled "Badder" and is from Michael Jackson's 1988 movie Moonwalker.

Here are two comments that I wrote on that video's viewer comment thread in response to a question about why the boy portraying Michael Jackson covered his mouth after saying something toward the end of that scene:

The call & response chanting (from 2:53 on) is a take off of the African American insult game The Dozens where yo mama is a core phrase. If you are serious, talkin about someone's mama has real consequences. The boy probably covered his mouth because kids are taught they aren't supposed to talk about someone's mama unless they're really looking for a fight. That's why the rest of the kids changed "your mama" to "your sister" since the consequences of that in real life isn't nearly as "bad".
-azizip171 in reply to quadprincess1 , May 23, 2012

I meant to write that the call & response chanting in this scene is a take-off of the African American insult AND BRAGGING game The Dozens. In the original song & in this parody, the emphasis is on the bragging part.
-azizip171, May 24, 2012
The other songs & playground rhymes (cheers) in this post include self-bragging and dissing (insulting another person) lyrics or words in the style of the dozens.

Click for information about The Dozens.

Video #3: LL Cool J - I'm Bad

Uploaded by LLCoolJVEVO on Jun 16, 2009

Music video by LL Cool J performing I'm Bad. (C) 1987 LL Cool J under exclusive license to The Island Def Jam Music Group

WARNING. This video's YouTube viewer comment thread contains profanity.


Video #1
The words to that cheer are given here as "Example #1" below.

Example #1: HULA HULA
Voice #1 (Nyya): Hula Hula.
Who think they bad?
Voice #2 (Ritza): I do.
Voice #1 (Nyya): Hula Hula.
Who think they bad?
Voice (Ritza) #2: I do.
Well, I think I’m bad cause
Ritza's my name
and pink is my color
Don't you worry 'bout my brother.
Voice #1 (Nyya): Ooh, she thinks she’s fine.
Voice #2 (Ritza):Soloist #1:Correction, baby I know I’m bad.
Voice #1 (Nyya): Ooh, she thinks she’s hip.
Voice #2 (Ritza):Hip enough to steal your chips.
-Naturalandthecity; ; Dec 17, 2011

I believe that the word "hula" in the cheer "Hula Hula" means "Hey!" (as in "Hello"). "Hula" may have come from the Spanish word "Hola". But I think that "Hula" might actually be a form of the old time English greeting "How do" meaning "How do you do?". The word "howdy" is a more common English language form of "How do you do". The television clown "Howdie Doody" got his name from the phrase "How do you do".). The colloquial American greeting phrase "Hoodie Hoo" is another form of the phrase "Howdy do." and may also have been a source for the word "Hula" in this cheer. "Hoodie Hoo" is pronounced "who day who".

For a related piece of information, click to find information about a newly invented American holiday to chase away winter by going outside on February 20th and yelling "Hoodie Hoo!".

Example #2: HULA HULA
Group: Hula Hula.
Who think they bad?
Soloist #1: I do.
Group: Hula Hula.
Who think they bad?
Soloist #1: I do.
Well, I think I’m bad cause
[insert soloist's name or nickname]'s my name
and love is my game.
I got this boy on my mind
and Lord knows he’s fine.
I got his name on my shirt
and don’t call it dirt.
Group: Ooh, she thinks she’s bad.
Soloist #1: Correction, baby I KNOW I’m bad.
Group: Ooh, she thinks she’s fine.
Soloist #1: Fine enough to blow YOUR mind.
-Tazi M. Powell (African American female, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, mid. 1980s)

Example #3: HOLLYWOOD
Here's a handclap called hollywood!

(person 1) My name is (your name) im number one my reputation's just begun so turn around and touch the ground get back up and break it down
(person 2) you think you're bad
(1) b-a-d i know im bad
(2) you tink you're cool
(1) cool enough to rule the school
(2) you think your fine
(1) fine fine blow your mind mind take em up take em back give the man a heart attack
(2) you think you're hott
(1) hott anough to blow your pot!
That's it....there's clapping and all but its too hard to explain on this...good luck!
-DC; 12/9/2005 ; [website no longer accessible]

The song source of this foot stomping cheer is Kool & The Gang's 1973 song "Hollywood Swingin". Click to find a video of that song.

Click for more analysis of these examples, for more examples of foot stomping cheers, and more comments about the structure and performance of these playground cheers.

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