Monday, September 23, 2013

I Can Get On Ellen: Word To Your Mother-In-Law #2


Here's the latest documentation of my mother-in-law's struggle to decipher the lyrics of rap songs.

For my first explicit challenge (Joan encountered the previous entry on her own), I opted to kick things off with Eric B. and Rakim's classic "Follow the Leader":

I figured I'd go easy on her for the first attempt and send something relatively simple. Good thing too, as we'll see. I encoded the track as an mp3 with no tags, sending it to her without revealing the artist or title. Joan transcribed the lyrics as best she could and sent them back. Following are some excerpts of the original lyrics plus Joan's attempts to identify them.

First of all, I have to confess that I'm not at all sure what Rakim is saying in the song's first moment (repeated throughout the track), where we get a sample of what sounds to me like "Rakim-a-say". In any case, Joan heard this as "Rock Timothy", and Timothy makes repeated appearances over the course of her interpretation.

So let's get to some line-by-line comparisons:

Rakim's original lyrics: I can go on for days and days/ With rhyme displays that engrave deep as x-rays

Joan's interpretation: I can go on and on for days and days/ With my displays, super tax rates

= = = = =

Rakim: I can get iller than 'Nam, I kill and bomb/ But no alarm - Rakim'll remain calm

Joan: I can get on Ellen and all my killin’ forming really long, rocking with Mekong.

= = = = =

Rakim: I want to see you keep following and swallowing/ Taking and making, biting and borrowing/ Brothers tried and others died to get the formula

Joan: I wanna see Keith following, swallowing, taking meat, fighting, crawling. Rubber swine, mother’s got to get the form to her

= = = = =

[Occasionally Joan hears "Follow the leader: Timothy."]

= = = = =

Rakim: Cuts rip your pants/ Eric B on the blades bleeding to death/ Call the ambulance

Joan: Cuz rip your pants and pee on a plate/ Leave a deft, cold handyman

= = = = =

Rakim: By showing and proving and letting knowledge be born

Joan: I started a coup and let Niles be born.

= = = = =

Rakim: The stage is a cage, the mic is a third rail/ I'm Rakim

Joan: The stage is a cave/ The mic is a third rail/ A rock hymn

= = = = =

And boom, there you have it! A homemade fun and easy game.

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