Inspecda, Feb 3, 2011
Edited by Azizi Powell
Latest Revision - June 24, 2023
This is Part I of a three part of a pancocojams series on playground rhymes sources for the "Shimmy Shimmy Cocoa Pop" "rap" in the 1988 American movie Big.
This post provides my general comments about children's playground rhymes, and provides 2 examples of that "rap" that were featured in the movie Big. Part 1 of this post also provides the words to an example of this "rap" that was recited by actor Tom Hanks in 2009 on a UK television talk show.
In addition, Part 1 of this post briefly provides a framework for understanding folklorists' views about how multiple versions of the same playground rhyme may be created.
Parts 2 & 3 include examples of older playground rhymes that are probable sources for movie Big's rap "Shimmy Shimmy Cocoa Pop". Those posts demonstrate that many lines found in that rap are also found as "floaters" in playground rhymes that aren't members of the large family of "Shimmy Shimmy Cocoa Pop" rhymes.
Click https://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2011/12/sources-of-movie-bigs-rap-shimmy-shimmy_11.html for Part 2 of this series.
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2011/12/sources-of-movie-bigs-rap-shimmy-shimmy.html for Part 3 of this series.
Big is a highly regarded 1988 American movie starring Tom Hanks. That movie is about a boy who wishes on a magic machine that he were big and wakes up the next morning and finds he is a man.
Here's the words to that chant/song along with information about it from http://www.ice-cream-freaks.com/ice-cream-song-big.html
The space goes...
down down baby, down down the roller coaster.
Sweet sweet baby, sweet sweet don't let me go.
shimmy shimmy coco pop, shimmy shimmy rock,
shimmy shimmy coco pop, shimmy shimmy rock
I met a girlfriend- a triscuit,
she said a triscuit-a biscuit,
ice cream soda pop
vanilla on the top
oooo Shalida, walking down the street,
ten times a week
I meant it. I said it.
I stole my mama's credit.
I'm cool. I'm hot.
Sock you in the stomach three more times.
The previous version of this pancocojams post included a transcription of this rhyme in which I included the word "spade" instead of "space".
"Spade" is an offensive informal referent for Black people.
A number of comments in the comment section for this post vehemently disagree with that transcription and instead point to online sources that use the word "space".
Read those comments and the comment section within this post for more about that introductory phrase "the space go" or "the spades go" in the movie Big's version of "Shimmy Shimmy Co Co Pop". .
Here's a video of Tom Hanks' recitation of the Shimmy Shimmy Co Co Pa rap in 2009:
Tom Hanks does the 'Big' rap - Friday Night with Jonathan Ross -BBC One
Uploaded by BBC on May 8, 2009
Jonathan's guests are one of Hollywood's most enduring superstars, double Oscar-winner Tom Hanks...
A number of persons who posted comments on that video's viewer comment thread shared their transcription of Tom Hanks' recitation of that Shimmy Shimmy Co Co Pa "rap".
Here's one of those transcriptions which I reformatted in poetry form:
1. The space goes down, down baby,
2. down, down the roller coaster.
3. Sweet, sweet baby,
4. sweet, sweet, don't let me go.
5. Shimmy, shimmy, cocoa pop.
6. Shimmy, shimmy, rock.
7. Shimmy, shimmy, cocoa pop.
8. Shimmy, shimmy, rock.
9. I met a girlfriend - a triscuit.
10. She said, a triscuit - a biscuit.
11. Ice cream, soda pop,
12. vanilla on the top.
13. Ooh, Shelly's out, walking down the street,
14. ten times a week.
15. I read it. I said it.
16. I stole my momma's credit.
17. I'm cool. I'm hot.
18. Sock me in the stomach three more times!
-xxMarz456xx ; http://www.youtube.com/all_comments?v=p9z2hJwJuqg&page=2, 2009
Notice that the name in #13 is given as "Shelly" instead of "Shalida". I've come across either of those names or other similarly pronounced names in other online versions of the movie Big's version of "Shimmy Shimmy Co Co Pop".
COMMENTS ABOUT "THE SPADES (OR "THE SPADES) GO [Revised June 24, 2023]
In 2006 I wrote a rather lengthy reply to a question that was posed to me on a Folk & Blues forum about my rather tepid reaction as an African American to the inclusion of the phrase "the spades go" that was found in am example of the playground rhyme "Two Lips". That example is reposted below as Example #4 in Playground rhymes that include the phrase "the spades go".
To summarize my comment, I indicated that while I have a strongly felt visceral reaction to the pejorative word that is now known as "the n word" -regardless of who uses it- I don't have that same "hit in the gut" reaction to the phrase "the spades go". I think that there are three main reasons for that:
1. Even though I believe that the phrase "the spades" is a referent for "Black people", it's not a referent that is used that often in the United States (at least, in my experiences).
2. Because it's children who are reciting rhymes that include the phrase "the spades go", I give them the benefit of the doubt that they don't know the pejorative meaning of "the spades". That pejorative meaning is sometimes alluded to in the colloquial expression "call a spade a spade". The racial meaning of that expression came about because in a deck of playing cards, the spade category of cards is the color black.
3. In the context of children's playground rhymes, the phrase "the spades" has no literal meaning nowadays, but merely serves as an introduction to the rhyme itself.
To read my full comment in that discussion about the phrase "the spades", on that folk music forum, visit http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=81350#1922124.
Additional information about "the spades goes" and other lines from this rap are provided in Part 2 of this post.
Besides probably mistakenly hearing the words "the spades go"" in the movie Big's version of "Shimmy Shimmy Co Co Pa" and coming across some online examples of that rhyme that begin with "the spades go"), I came to the conclusion that that movie used the words "the spades go" because that referent is another way of saying "The Black [people] go" [perform the rhyme this way.]. That introduction is found in the earliest example of "Down Down Baby" that I've come across to date [June 24, 2023]. Here's that example from John Langstaff and Carol Langstaff's 1973 book ShimmyShimmy Coke-Ca-Pop!: A Collection Of City Children's Street Games And Rhymes (Garden City, New York, Doubleday & Co), page 78
[Lyrics given in a musical sheet]
"The Blacks go
Down down baby
Down by the roller coaster
Sweet, sweet baby
I don't want to let you go
Just because I kissed you once
Doesn't mean I love you so
Shimmy, shimmy, shimmy, shimmy
Shimmy Shimmy pop!
Shimmy, shimmy, shiimmy, shimmy
Before moving to a presentation of probable early sources for the movie Big's Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop Rap, I want to emphasize the following points:
2. Versions of a particular playground rhyme can be compared with each other to determine the older (or oldest) print or recorded form of that rhyme or how closely a particular example conforms to an older version. However, there are no right or wrong versions of any particular playground rhyme.
3. Most playground rhymes are composed by stringing together "floating" verses from two or more other rhymes These two line rhyming verses often are about unrelated subjects. The reason why those lines are called "floating verses" is because they often can be found in certain other playground rhymes.
The sources of these rhyming verses are other playground rhymes; nursery (Mother Goose) rhymes; unrecorded or recorded songs including folk songs, R&B songs, and other music genres; popular sayings, words from television shows & books; and portions of advertisements etc.
Each of the versions of "Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop" given above include verses that are found in several older playground rhymes. And those floating verses for those older rhymes appear to have originated in the creative wellspring of African American culture.
By publishing this post, I'm not disputing the contributions of the writers & producers of this award winning movie. This post simply indicates that the sources for the versions of the "rap" featured in that movie originated among African Americans. In that regard, that creativity should also be recognized & appreciated.
Also, by publishing this post, I'm not attempting to name all of the past & present versions of playground rhymes which contain lines from the movie Big's "rap". To do so would probable be an impossible task, in part because old versions of Black children's rhymes were seldom collected, and in part because new versions of these rhymes are constantly being created by Black children and by non-Black children.
In the United States, it appears that there may be regional differences and perhaps also racial differences in the titles these rhymes are known by. For instance, "Down Down Baby" is how these rhymes and other closely related rhymes (like "Down Down Baby, I know Karate") are known among African Americans in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area where I live. However, in Atlantic City, New Jersey where I was born & spent my childhood in the 1950s, that handclap rhyme was always referred to (at least by African Americans I knew) as "Shimmy Shimmy Cocoa Pop (or a similarly worded line). I also knew the closely related rhyme "I Love (Like) Coffee. I Love (Like) Tea". In addition, Kyra D. Gaunt, author of the 2006 book The Games Black Girls Play", writes that the rhyme "Down Down Baby" is also called "Hot Dog"
That name refers to those words and that hip shaking movement that are found in some versions of that rhyme, particularly the version that was chanted by a group of young African American girls in a 1980s Sesame Street television clip.
Nowadays all of these rhymes are usually performed as handclap routines/games. However, some people recall versions of these rhymes being chanted while jumping (skipping) rope.
The Real Meaning Of "The Spades Go" & "The Space Go" In Playground Rhymes
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