Monday, January 13, 2014

Hand Clap Rhymes That Mention Mp3s, Cell Phones, HDTV, & Computers

Edited by Azizi Powell

In the fifteen years plus that I've been collecting playground rhymes I've only come across a few rhymes that include references to mp3s, cell phones, HDTV, or computers. Most of the examples that I've found are updated versions of "Mama Mama Can't You See", a playground rhyme that has its source in the Marine Corp cadence with the same name. Here are some examples of that rhyme which includes one of those references to modern technical devices or modern technological appliances (Those lines in these rhymes are given in italics to highlight them.)


Example #1:
Mama mama can't you see,
What the army done to me.
They took away my favorite toys,
Now I'm playin' with boys.
They took away my MP3,
Now I'm watching Barney.
They took away my favorite jeans,
Now I'm wearin' army greens.
I saw a lady chewin' gum,
I asked her if i could have some.
She looked at me like I was dumb,
That's when I said
See my pinky
See my thumb
See my fist
You betta run!
-Dot Ramirez., August 22, 2007 [transcription by Azizi Powell]
My guess is that some of the online examples of "Mama Mama Can't You See" that include a reference to Mp3s in that video's viewer comment thread and elsewhere are copied from this video. Furthermore, most of the playground rhyme examples which I found to date that include a reference to some modern technical device are from that same YouTube viewer comment thread. Here's a comment from that same thread about this change:

"they took away my mp3... wow in my day it was they took away my MTV"
-AriWonder 2009

Example #2
Mama, Mama, Can't you see?
What this baby done to me
He took away my MP3
Now I'm stuck watching Barney
Oops, Barney's Dead
Shot in the head
In the corner
In my bed
-SoullessCynner,, Dec 11, 2011
As per her or his comments, this video features the publisher's eight year old cousin who learned this rhyme in school. [WARNING: This publisher's summary statement includes profanity].
This example is a clearer reflection of the theme of the beginning portion of that rhyme. The person reciting the rhyme has a baby and therefore has to watch the children's show "Barney" instead of listening to Pop or R&B music on her MP3 player. Previously, that line was "I used to watch MTV [or "BET"], television stations that used to predominately feature Pop and/or R&B music videos. Even earlier versions of this rhyme include the line "I used to play with toys/now I play with boys".

Example #1:
"this is my version mama mama cant you see what the baby done to he took away my water jug now i cant go fill it up!!! took away my mtv now i cant watch bet. took away my miny skirt now i cant go out to flirt!! took away my cell phone now i cant go call home!!! dont stop till your hands get hot!!!!"
- webkinzgirl18245,, 2010

[Editor's Note: The following example of the hand clap rhyme "Hollywood Swinging" also contains a reference to cell phones."]

Example #2:
this is how i sing it

Hollywood Hollywood
Hollywood go swinging
Hollywood go swinging
my name is (Ur name) on the my cell
with my apple bottoms on
if you see me in the club
boy you better speak to me
uh she think she bad:
B.A.D i know I'm bad
uh she think she cool:
coolest girl in (whatever one Ur in elementary, middle etc)
uh she think she:
fine fine fine #8
take your man up on a date
bring him home
bring him back
he best have my Cadillac
he bought me 1
he bought me 2
he married me
divorced you
bang bang choochoo train
come on girl lets do our thing
(other person) i cant
(you) why not
(other person) because i cant
(you) why not
(other person) because my back is ache-ing
and my bra is to tight
and my booty shaking
from the left to the right left right left right
-ID1122325703, [second example given on that page*], retrieved on September 20, 2010
*This example was written in paragraph style with very little punctuation. It is reformatted here to enhance its reading clarity.


it goes mama cant u see what the baby did to me took away my mtv now in watching barney tic tac to 3 in a row barney got shot by a gei go mama called the docter and the docter said opps barneys dead got shot in the head were is his body in the bed were are his leggs walin through the mall were are his armstypin on the coputer then you hit the other person in the HEAD
-nommiesmomi,, 2009


Mama mama can't you see,what this baby don to me, she broke my HDTV,now I'm watching dumb Barney,Barney got shot by g.i.goe.
Lizzie Green, ,, 2013
"HDTV" = "high definition television"

This concludes the examples of playground rhymes that include references to mp3s, cell phones, HDTV, or computers that I've found to date. I'm interested in collecting other examples of these types of rhymes. If you know any, please add them in the comment section of this post.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

ADDENDUM October 27, 2014


Thabo Mbeki promised us a VCR
When we went to fetch it, all he said
Was voetsek, and never come back'
"Skinny Malinky Long-Legs, Big Banana Feet, and other priceless South African playground rhymes and skipping songs"

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Viewer comment are welcome.


  1. Mine was

    "Mama mama can't you see?! What the baby's done to me! Took away my MTV, now I'm watching Barney! Barney got shot by the G.I Joe and the baby sucked my toes! Went to the doctor and the doctor said do it til your hands get red!!

    1. Hello, Unknown October 15, 2018 at 10:39 PM

      Thanks for sharing your example with pancocojams.

      I've never seen or heard the "baby sucked my toes!/Went to the doctor and the doctor said/do it til your hands get red!!" part of that rhyme before.

      Best wishes!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment, Unknown.

      I'm on the look-out for more examples of hand clap rhymes that mention Mp3s, cell phones, HDTV, & computers. Hopefully, additional examples will be added to this collection soon.