Friday, August 11, 2017

Various Examples Of The Double Dutch Rhyme "Hey Concentration"

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part I of a two part pancocojams series

Part I presents various examples of the Double Dutch rhyme "Hey Concentration". An example of this rhyme which was published online as a circle game is also included in this post.

Click for Part II of this series. Part II presents lyrics for and videos of two songs that I believe are the probable sources for the Double Dutch jump rope rhyme "Hey Concentration".

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, cultural, and recreational purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to all those who contributed examples that are included in this post.

This is part of an ongoing pancocojams series on Double Dutch (jump rope) and jump roping rope in general, particularly as those activities relate to African American females.

Click the tags below to find other posts in this series.

If you know of any additional examples of this rhyme, please share them in the comment section below, along with demographic information (particularly the decade you heard or performed this rhyme and how you performed it, example: jump rope, hand clap game etc. Thanks!

These examples are given in the order that I found them or (in the case of the example that is given last), that the rhyme was shared with me.

I've numbered these examples for referencing purposes only.

Rhyme Example #1
"Hey concentration
Where have you been
Around the corner
And back again
Stole my money
Stole my honey
Mama's got the hiccups
Daddy's got the flu.
Now come on boys
Let's slice the ice.
Slice it 1
Slice it 2
Slice it 3 4 5
Slice it 6
Slice it 7
Slice it 8 9 10
Hey everybody
Come on and do your thing.
2 up bop, bop.
2 down bop, bop
2 up bop, bop.
2 down bop, bop
2 up"
The authors noted that this is a Double Dutch Jump Rope rhyme. Here are the performance directions for jumping double dutch that the authors included with this rhyme:

"Two players face each other, holding two ropes, one in each hand. The right hand of one player turns one rope counterclockwise, and his left hand turns the other rope clockwise.

The right hand of the second player turns counterclockwise and his left hand turns clockwise. The right hand and left hands of each player correspond in moving.

One child "jumps in" when one rope is up in the air and the other is down. His foot pattern is a skip from side to side."

Source: Eleanor Fulton, Pat Smith, Let’s Slice The Ice ( published St. Louis, Missouri. Magnamusic-Baton, 1978, page 27)
I've searched but haven't found any definitions for or references to the phrase "slice the ice". In the context of this rhyme, I think that "slice the ice" was probably a commonly used African American Vernacular English phrase that meant to perform a rhythmic movement or dance step in which the person slides from one side to another. Note that the authors write that the "foot pattern is a skip from side to side."

It's interesting that the authors used the pronoun "his" instead of "her" since traditionally most Double Dutch jumpers have been female. I think the use of that male pronoun reflects 1970s grammatical practices, and shouldn't be read to mean that the players were males.

Rhyme Example #2

"Challenge, Challenge/Big Mac/Hey Consolation Medley
(Challenge is a competitive follow-the-leader game)

Challenge, challenge
1,2,3,4,5,6,7.8, 9,10

Big Mac, Filet o’ Fish foot
And bounce
And hop
And turn
And walk
And criss

Hey consolation
Where have you been?
Around the corner, and back again
Stole my money
Knocked my honey
Papa’s go the hiccups
Mama’s got the ice
So come on baby
Let’s slice that ice

2, 4, 6, 8, 10 hop
2,4,6,8,10 turn
2, 4, 6, 8, 10 criss
2,4,6,8,10 turn walk
(1991, 1992, ;.1999, 1004

Only one song mixes modern commentary, traditional moves, and commercial messages. Although it mentions specific corporations, it is not a simple advertisement. The first two lines come from a rap by recording artist KRS-One, but the rest of the Mill School’s version diverges from the original yet stays true to its message of confidence. Tashi and Naisha gave it special status, and its words were sung with an eye twinkle. This one was different. It is complex in its layering of street competition, sarcasm. And African American traditional foot work. In this sense, it is much more than a traditional singing game"...

Source: from Recess Battle: Playing, Fighting, and Storytelling by Anna R. Beresin (University Press of Mississippi, Jackson; 2010) page 67
I'm not sure which record the author refers to when she wrote that the first two lines of this rhyme are from a KRS-One rap.

Rhyme Example #3
"Hey concentration, where have you been?
Around the corner and back again?
Stole my money, stole my honey,
Mama’s got the hiccups, papa’s got the flu!"

The editor of that website categorizes this song as an "American folk song: circle game" and provides the following performance instructions:

Hey concentration = two small steps forward (half note = beat)
Where have you been = Put hands out in “Where?” motion (pulse hands twice)
Around the corner = Turn around in circle once
Back again = two steps back
Stole my money = turn and face partner and pat own knees twice
Stole my honey = High five both partner’s hands
Mama’s got the hiccups = Pat knees twice
Papa’s got the flu = Turn and face inside of the circle, ready to start over

Optional ending:
Mama’s got the hiccups = Facing partner, walk past partner to the next person (new partner)"

Rhyme Example #4
Pancocojams Editor's Note:
This example is included in an online blog post about the opening credits scene for Spike Lee's 1994 movie Crooklyn. That name is a purposely adapted nickname for Brooklyn, New York. I've included an excerpt of that post along with the "Hey Concentration" rhyme example.
From Saturday, February 09, 2008, "Imagery Saturdays: Games People Play", By Odienator

"My favorite opening credits sequence of Spike's is the one that opens Crooklyn. There's a lot wrong with Crooklyn as a feature: Spike Lee can't write a female character to save his life, the film is fragmented and meandering, and the entire anamorphic sequence, while bold, is annoying. Still I love this movie for the sense of nostalgia it evokes. In an argument with a film critic buddy of mine, I completely acknowledged every flaw he pointed out. "But I was there," I told him, "and I think that's what Spike's going for in this movie. He's preaching to the choir of kids from the 70's."

Crooklyn opens with a quick survey of a Brooklyn neighborhood, and as it plays out, we see a whole slew of games being played by the neighborhood kids. The scene is scored to the Stylistics' People Make the World Go Round, a song that kicks in as the Universal logo spins on the screen. I'm not going to lie; I felt 4 years old when I saw these games on the screen. My eyes got wet and a flood of memories came back to me. That's what I hope to invoke with this free association rant about the images below. So, ask your Mom if you can come out and play with the Odienator. Hurry up. The streetlights come on in an hour.


Another "girl" game I partook in was double dutch. The girls swung their bodies with attitude while they turned the rope, and I'd get tingly feelings I didn't know anything about until much later. In my neighborhood, jumping rope was verboten for boys, but honestly I didn't care. I didn't have any male friends anyway, except for my cousins, and the guys in my hood were too busy yelling at me because I was the smart kid, calling me "professor" and "White boy" because "keepin' it real" hadn't been coined yet. This was a way I could get close to the girls, and it paid off later when I joined one of the double dutch troops who competed in things like the McDonalds contests. We kicked ass, and I met a lot of women. So nyaah.

Another thing I loved about double dutch was that it got the adults involved. My cousins would be outside jumping, and my Mom or one of my numerous aunts would come outside and ask for a jump. Now, keep in mind that, to us, these women seemed older than dirt. In actuality, my Mom was in her 20's and some of my aunts were in their late teens. They would kick off their shoes and then, after that hilarious back and forth motion everybody did before jumping into the rope, would jump in and jump like the experts they were. Sometimes they showed off, too, jumping in what we called "hot peas and butter," a really fast turn of the rope. Whenever we tried that, we'd get whelped up and look like the zebra on the Fruit Stripe gum package.

And remember those songs the girls would sing, using the rhythm of the rope and their feet as percussion:

"Hey Concentration
Where have you been?
Around the corner and back again.
Stole my money
And my honey
Papa got the hiccups, Mama got the slice.
So come on baby let's slice that ice,
Slice 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1!
I knew an old lady who lived in a town.
She tried to do the jump but she turned around.
She tried to do the split but she did the kick.
Oh my Lawd now what is this?"
The authors's "Hurry up. The streetlights come on in an hour" statement refers to the fact that for many African American children (and probably other children), the rule was that children had to be in their homes when the street lights came on. I remember this well from my childhood in Atlantic City, New Jersey in the 1950s.

I haven't found any definitions online or offline for the phrase "slice the ice". My guess is that "slice the ice" was an African American Vernacular English phrase that had the same or very similar meaning as "cut the rug" = "to enthusiastically perform social dances".

Rhyme Example #5:
"Hey concentration Where have you Been
Around the corner and back Again
Stole my Money and my Honey
Papa's got the hiccups
Mama’s got the Slice"

Source: "Hip Hop Family Tree Book 1: 1970s–1981" By Ed Piskor, page 93
Pancocojams Editor's note:
This book is a comic book, graphic novel. The page that is quoted above is a series of comic strip panel drawings whose words and pictures refer to a ten minute news segment on the national news series 20/20 about how Hip Hop music was entering the American mainstream. The text that is given above specifically refers to one of the drawings that depicts three black girls in matching blue shirts and white shorts jumping double dutch on a city sidewalk chanting the rhyme "Hey Concentration".

The bold font that is given above is found in the comic page.

Here's the text that was given above that drawing:
"The piece also does a good job relating the deeper origins of the culture to long-standing traditions in the black south like the CALL AND RESPONSE elements of church sermons, rhyme talk in games, and old story rhymes."
It's interesting that out of all the possible Double Dutch rhymes that the author of this book could have chosen for the girls to chant, he chose "Hey Concentration".

Rhyme Example #6
"Hey concentration
Where have you been
Around the corner
And back again
Stole my money
Stole my honey
Mama's got the hiccups
Papas got the mumps.
Now come on baby
Let's slice that ice.
Slice 10 9 8 7
6 5 4 3 2 1
Gypsy Gypsy, Rosalie
Who on earth can your old man be?
Is he a rich man, poor man
baker man, chief?
Dr, lawyer, store man, thief.
Now spell your name on one foot.
That's a N-i-n-a
Nina's a girl from overseas
She don't dig no boys in dungarees.
She lives uptown, she lives downtown
She lives all around
Now let's get down.
(then you hot jump as fast as you can for as long as you can)"

Source: vis email from Nina Gonzalez (Jersey City, New Jersey)

Nina also added this comment. "I love this. when i was a little girl in jersey city nj we had a variation of hey concentration which was/is my favorite rope song"
Thanks Nina!
Unfortunately, there's no other demographic information for this example (such as the decade that Nina remembered chanted this rhyme.).

Nina emailed me this rhyme on 8/6/2017, writing that she had tried to add it as a comment to this page on my cocojams2 blog:

With considerable regret, I disabled the comment feature on cocojams2 blogs (and my other blogs except for pancocojams), because of the large number of spam comments that I received on those blogs. However, I have added Nina's example to that blog post page on hand clap and jump rope rhymes that begin with the letters g-h.

Comments for those blogs can be sent to my email address azizip17 dot com at yahoo dot com for possible inclusion in a specific post on those blogs.

This concludes Part I of this pancocojams series on "Hey Concentration" Double Dutch rhymes.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

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