Edited by Azizi Powell
"Razzle Dazzle" is a bragging, confrontational cheer which appears to be quite popular with American (United States) children's cheerleading squads.
It's my belief that "Razzle Dazzle" and many other children's cheerleading cheers originated as an African American foot stomping cheer. Footing cheers are a sub-set of cheerleader cheers with a distinguishable textual pattern and (at least originally) a characteristic performance activity. These foot stomping cheers were (are?) usually informally performed by girls ages 5-12 years old. By "informally" I mean that these cheers were performed for recreational purposes only with no formal audience and apart from any formal squad/team that is affiliated with a school or community athletic team.
This pancocojjams post provides information about foot stomping cheers and presents several text (word only) examples of the foot stomping cheer "Razzle Dazzle". Explanations about some of the vernacular terms that are included in these cheers are also included in this post. In addition, a video of "Razzle Dazzle" cheer is also included in this post.
The content of this post is presented for folkloric, cultural, and recreational purposes.
Thanks to all those who are shared examples of this cheer and all those who are quoted in this post.
COMMENTS ABOUT THE CHEER "RAZZLE DAZZLE" AND SIMILAR CHEERS
[Revised June 7, 2017]
"Razzle Dazzle" is a self-bragging (and, later, a) group bragging, confrontational cheer. I don't know when this cheer was first performed, but my guess is that it was in the late 1970s/early 1980s. I base this guess on four things:
1) The earliest known dates for what I refer to as "foot stomping cheers" are the late 1970s/early 1980s.
2) The date of the hit Broadway song "Razzle Dazzle" is 1975.
3) "Razzle Dazzle" cheer have very similar structures and words as the late 1970s/1980s examples of "Hula Hula" foot stomping cheers.
4). American vernacular terms from the late 1970s and the 1980s are found in examples of "Razzle Dazzle" cheers
"Foot stomping cheers" is the term that I coined in 2000 for a relatively new category of children's recreational play that is (was?) performed mostly by preteen and younger girls and that involves chanting and choreographed foot stomping combined with (individual) clapping movements.
I believe that foot stomping cheers are an updated form of African Americans' (and other Americans') "show me your motion" circle games. "Going To Kentucky" is a widely known example of a "show me your motion" circle game."Foot stomping cheers" is the term that I coined in 2000 for a relatively new category of children's recreational play that is (was?) performed mostly by preteen and younger girls and that involves chanting and choreographed foot stomping combined with (individual) clapping movements.
The 1978 vinyl/LP record Old Mother Hippletoe-Rural And Urban Children's Songs (New World Records – NW 291) is the earliest recording or print documentation that I have found of a new style of children's recreational chanting and performance activity that I have termed "foot stomping cheers". "Foot stomping cheers" have a textual structure and traditionally* have a performance style* that is distinct from hand clap rhymes, jump rope rhymes, other cheerleader cheers, and other categories of children's recreational rhymes. That record featured four examples of African American girls from Washington D. C. performing cheers in 1973-1975.
Foot stomping cheers "traditionally"* have a signature group call & consecutive soloist response structure. "Group call" means that the entire group (or the group minus the first soloist) is heard first. "Consecutive soloist"' means that in that cheer is immediately repeated from the beginning so that every member of the squad can an opportunity to be the soloist. Each soloist's performance is the same length. Some foot stomping cheers have several group calls followed by brief responses by the soloist before the soloist has a somewhat longer verbal and/or movement response. Other foot stomping cheers have one or two group calls followed by the soloist's verbal and/or movement response.
*By traditional, I mean the way that foot stomping cheers were performed by African American girls in the 1980s and 1990s, and perhaps in the early 2000s. I've noticed changes in the way that these cheers are performed as they become more mainstream (i.e. are performed by White or predominately White cheerleader squads.)
Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/06/examples-of-hula-hula-who-think-they.html for more information about "foot stomping cheers".
I believe that the cheer title "Razzle Dazzle" was lifted from the song "Razzle Dazzle" that is featured in the 1975 hit Broadway musical Chicago show (and later, the 2002 movie) "Chicago". Here's a quote from http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=16609 about the song "Razzle Dazzle".
"Like the rest of the score from the 1975 musical Chicago, "Razzle Dazzle" has music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb. This is a tongue-in-cheek song performed by the lawyer Billy Flynn to his client, accused murderess Roxie, explaining how to bamboozle a jury and make a silk purse out of a sow's ear to secure the acquittal of an obviously guilty defendant. Or maybe just to boost her confidence.
In the original Broadway production it was performed by Jerry Orbach, and in the 2002 film by Richard Gere."
The term "razzle dazzle" is both a noun and an adjective. Two adjectival definitions are a good fit for (what I think is) the meaning of "razzle dazzle") in children's cheers:
"impressively opulent or decorative, especially in a new way; showy; flashy; eye-catching:
a shopping center lined with razzle-dazzle boutiques.
"energetic, dynamic, or innovative":
razzle-dazzle technology; a razzle-dazzle sales pitch.
That said, girls performing the "Razzle Dazzle" cheer, probably aren't focused on the meaning of the term "razzle dazzle" other than as a "cool" rhyming term, and may not know what "razzle dazzle" means.
"Hula Hula" is a foot stomping cheer that is very similar in words and textual structure, (and probably also performance) to the "Razzle Dazzle" cheer.
The earliest example of "Hula Hula" that I found is from Barbara Michels' and Bettye White's 1983 book Apple On A Stick, The Folklore of Black Children. The "rhymes" that are featured in this book are from Houston, Texas. Here's that cheer (which was categorized along with other examples in that book as a "rhyme")
Now who thinks they bad
Now who thinks they bad
I think I’m bad
‘Cause Acie my name
And toys is my game
Take a sip of my potion
And dance in slow motion
She thinks she bad
Baby baby don’t make me mad
She thinks she cool
Baby baby don’t act a fool
She think she sweet
Sweetest person you ever meet
She thinks she fine
Baby baby I’ll blow your mind
-Barbara Michels and Bettye White, editors: Apple On A Stick, The Folklore of Black Children (Putnam Juvenile; First Edition November 11, 1983
I also collected an example of "Hula Hula" in the early to mid 1980s from my daughter and her friends (in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). Click the pancocojams link that is given above for that example, for other examples of "Hula Hula", and for examples of some other cheers (including one example of "Razzle Dazzle") that are similar to "Hula Hula".
https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/06/examples-of-hula-hula-who-think-they.html includes several other text examples of "Hula Hula" as well as a YouTube video of two sisters saying this cheer.
Although I have heard examples of "Hula Hula", I've never heard any examples of "Razzle Dazzy". However, the very close textual and structural similarities between these cheers lead me to believe that "Razzle Dazzle" cheers probably sound the same as "Hula Hula" cheers.
4. As I suggested earlier in this post, the title "Razzle Dazzle" is probably lifted from the song "Razzle Dazzle" in the 1975 Broadway show Chicago. In addition to that vernacular term, examples of "Razzle Dazzle" cheers usually include such American Vernacular English terms from the late 1970s and early 1980s, as "macho" (from the Village People's Pop song "Macho Man" which was released on February 27, 1978 and the term "fly" which was popularized by The Boogie Boy's 1985 Hip Hop song "A Fly Girl".
Additional explanations about some vernacular terms that are included in examples of "Razzle Dazzle" are found below.
TEXT EXAMPLES OF "RAZZLE DAZZLE"
I. EXAMPLES FROM MY COCOJAMS.COM WEBSITE
These four examples of "Razzle Dazzle" were posted to my (no longer active) cocojams.com website. I chose not to publish the last names of people submitting material to that cultural website because it appeared that so many of the people posting material on that site were children and preteens.
That cocojams website transferred all "lined" entries into sentences. I've reformatted this example and the following three examples in this post (back) into a (cheer/poetry) lined structure.
These examples are given in chronological order according to the date that they were published online. Numbers are assigned to these examples for referencing purposes only.
RAZZLE DAZZLE (Version #1)
"I hate these cheers, they are for like the 1st grade, here is a good chant:
Razzle Dazzle, razzle dazzle
hi we are the Hornets and we are number one
and in this razzle dazzle has just began
so if you see us step aside cause we dont take no jive,
razzle dazzle razzle dazzle
Oh she thinks she bad,
lord honey we know we're bad
our skirts are green our shirts are white,
step to us be ready to fight,
razzle dazzle razzle dazzle."
-Cassie and Becca ; 5/22/2006, cocojams.com
RAZZLE DAZZLE (Version #2)
"*=one clap razzle dazzle (***)
razzle dazzle (***)
our names are cats (or any other team)
we're number one
our reputation has just begun.
so if u see us just step aside,
cats (or other team) baby dont take no jive.
(GROUP 1) ohhh they think their bad.
(GROUP 2) correction baby we know we're bad.
(GROUP 1) ohh they think their hot.
(GROUP 2) ladies....PLEASE!!! "
-Hannah, 9/25/2006, cocojams.com
RAZZLE DAZZLE (Version #3)
"Razzle Dazzle (all the girls are in a circle, one girl goes in the middle to sing)
my name is ____ i'm number 1,
my razzle dazzle has just begun
so if you see me better step aside
cause this bad girl don't take no jive
(everybody else in the cirle:) ooh. she thinks she's bad
correction baby, i KNOW i'm bad
ooh. she thinks she's fine
fine enough to blow YOUR mind
razzle dazzle uh huh uh huh
razzle dazzle uh huh.
WOO WOO razzle dazzle uh huh
uh huh razzle dazzle uh huh.
WOO WOO (repeat with everybody in the circle) "
-liz ; 6/22/2007, cocojams.com
RAZZLE DAZZLE (Version #4)
"Hiya great site! Here is a cheer: (Where it says Emily change it to your name)
Razzle Dazzle(clap clap clap) Razzle Dazzle(clap clap clap)
My name is Emily
I'm number one
My Razzle Dazzle has just begun
So when you see me step aside.
You know Emily Don't take no Jive
(Everybody) OOh She thinks she's bad
(person speaking previously) No, baby I know I'm bad."
-Emiii; 5/21/2007, cocojams.com
for an alphabetical listing of foot stomping cheers beginning with the letters (P-Z). The links for four other pages of foot stomping cheer examples are given on that page.
II. AN ONLINE EXAMPLE AND COMMENTS ABOUT THE "RAZZLE DAZZLE" CHEER FROM STACKEXCHANGE.COM
From https://literature.stackexchange.com/questions/1634/what-does-m-o-in-the-razzle-dazzle-cheer-song-mean [asked] Christian Feb 13 (2017); [edited] Skooba, March 21 (2017)
"I would like to know what a particular line in the following cheer poem is a reference to.
Leader: My name is (your name)
I'm number one
My reputation has just begun
So if you see me
Cause I ain't got the time
Response: Ooh! She thinks she's bad!
Leader: Shut up girls, don't make me mad!
Response: Ooh! She thinks she's cool!
Leader: Cool enough for all these fools!
Response: Ooh! She thinks she's fine!
Everyone: Fine enough to M O
Fine enough to macho
Fine enough to hula hoop
Fine enough for all yall fools!
Razzle Dazzle (3 claps)
Razzle Dazzle (3 claps)
The line I particularly do not understand is "Fine enough to M O" and "Fine enough to macho." This cheer poem is extremely common in summer camps and I've heard it so many times, but no one seems to know what "M O" is."
Here's a link to an example of "Razzle Dazzle" that might have been the source for that example of that cheer: http://ohevbbg.weebly.com/bbg-cheers.html.
As of the date of this pancocojams post, one respondent referred the person asking these questions to "song lyrics". Although it wasn't mentioned, presumably that referral was for the Broadway song "Razzle Dazzle".
Another person responded by writing that the words to cheers "might have any number of iterations and variations". While that's true, it doesn't explain what "Fine enough to M O" and "Fine enough to macho." mean.
A third person responded by asking what country this cheer is from and a fourth person shared a link to a camp version of "Razzle Dazzle" which includes the term "Mambo". That example is given below.
All of these comments were written in February 2017 or March 2017 under the tag "oral tradition".
Read my comments below about the meanings of those terms and some other vernacular terms in some Razzle Dazzle cheers.
III. AN ONLINE EXAMPLE OF "RAZZLE DAZZLE" FROM CAMPKESEM.ORG
"Camp Song “Razzle Dazzle”
My name is _____ I’m number 1
My reputation has just begun
So if you see me just step aside
don't take no jive!
OO (S)HE THINKS (S)HE'S COOL
(One): Cool enough for all y'all fools
(All): OO (S)HE THINKS (S)HE'S BAD
(One): Hush now, don't make me
OO (S)HE THINKS (S)HE'S FLY
FLY ENOUGH TO MAMBO
FLY ENOUGH TO MACHO
FLY ENOUGH TO HOOLA HOOP
FLY ENOUGH FOR ALL Y'ALL FOOLS
(Razzle Dazzle (*clap clap clap*) ) X2
(call on next person to be "it")"
IV. EXAMPLE OF RAZZLE DAZZLE FROM AN ONLINE SITE FOR CHILDREN'S CHEERLEADERS CHEERS AND CHANTS
From http://dragoncheertx.tripod.com/id8.html (retrieved June 6, 2017)
Razzle Dazzle [title]
"Fire it up and up And up and up and up Razzle Dazzle, razzle dazzle, raz-zle, daz-zle
My name is Lindsey and I'm lots of fun
Score 6 And my razzle dazzle has just begun
Touchdown, Dragons, Let's score 6 You'll feel the groove down to your feet
My dragon pride just can't be beat
Ooh, she thinks she's bad
Correction, I know I'm bad
Ooh, she thinks she's sweet
Sweetest girl you'll ever meet!"
Here's a link to a similar version of "Razzle Dazzle" from another cheerleader cheer site: https://www.thoughtco.com/hello-cheers-for-cheerleaders-588630
AFRICAN AMERICAN VERNACULAR ENGLISH TERMS IN "RAZZLE DAZZLE" CHEERS
These definitions are given in alphabetical order. The definitions given are in the context of this cheer, and often have other meanings in standard English and in African American Vernacular English.
1. "bad" (adjective) = means "very good"
2. "blow your mind" = really impress you
3. "cool"= (adjective) hip, up to date with the latest African American urban culture (including language & fashions)
4. "fine" (adjective) = very good looking
5. "fly" (adjective) = a person [but usually a female] who is looking good and is up to date with the latest African American urban culture (i.e. The Boogie Boys' 1985 hit song "Fly Girl").
6. "hot" = popular
7. "jive" = (noun) something that is nonsensical, foolish, lies, unsubstantial, fake, cheap, meaningless; or someone who talks nonsense, is fake, lies, talks big but can't back it up etc.
"don't take no jive" (term) = in the context of this cheer, [a person who] "don't take no jive" (doesn't take any jive) is one that won't allow anyone to "mess" with her (or him) by lying to her, or disrespecting her, and/or trying to trick her, or otherwise not taking her seriously. Anyone who tries to do any of these things will suffer negative consequences.
8. macho = (adjective) = the ability to win any physical confrontation; from the Pop song "Macho Man":
My guess is that the term "M.O." that is found in some versions of "Razzle Dazzle" cheers is a folk processed form of this vernacular meaning for "macho".
9. "razzle dazzle" = actions that are taken that really impress people; also "razzle dazzle" is a highly complimentary description of the way a person looks (including the way they move, i.e their cheerleading performance and energy
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