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You dont want to battle me
June 15, 2009 7:20 PM   Subscribe

This is what it would sound like if hip hop was translated to proper form trust me the results are nothing short of amazing!
posted by The1andonly (75 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
White people are so funny.
posted by cavalier at 7:24 PM on June 15, 2009


So where's the original of this?
posted by boo_radley at 7:26 PM on June 15, 2009


I shall watch this thread with interest...
posted by HuronBob at 7:28 PM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


i saw this alrdy old shit
posted by exogenous at 7:36 PM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


So where's the original of this?

Exactly ... I don't know why but I have nagging need to check the translation.
posted by ATXile at 7:37 PM on June 15, 2009


Black people! White people! (Warning: Flash)
posted by The White Hat at 7:37 PM on June 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


I checked. The translators are apparently not native speakers of the original rhyme. Amusing, but this drops it a peg in my regard.
posted by meinvt at 7:38 PM on June 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


i saw this alrdy old shit

Translated: Previously, I have viewed this youtube video because it is not of recent origin.
posted by YoBananaBoy at 7:38 PM on June 15, 2009 [15 favorites]


The last half.
posted by flavor at 7:39 PM on June 15, 2009


1. via Stuff White People Like?

2. I once went to a freestyle rap battle in Atlanta. To this day, I don't really understand where I was - I was eighteen, and saw a hooker for the first time in my life on the way there. Traumatizing. Anyway, we were forbidden from using any form of photography because felons, gangsters, and other individuals avoiding public exposure would be "performing." This video, however, appears to have been filmed in a high school gymnasium. Weak.
posted by munyeca at 7:42 PM on June 15, 2009


Unoriginal. Unfunny. Uninspired. So, so tired.
posted by furious at 7:42 PM on June 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


The music at the end is priceless.
posted by greekphilosophy at 7:43 PM on June 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


I believe this is the original, 'untranslated' version.
posted by jedicus at 7:43 PM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Haha. "You sir are a weak and timid homosexual". This was pretty funny.
posted by vito90 at 7:46 PM on June 15, 2009


Black people talk like this and White people talk like that . . .
meh.
posted by anansi at 7:47 PM on June 15, 2009


"Proper form?" What is that even supposed to mean? The voiceovers are no more proper form for a freestyle battle than a freestyle rhyme would be for Toastmasters.
posted by regicide is good for you at 7:53 PM on June 15, 2009 [10 favorites]


I don't speak jive, but there seem to be quite a few mistakes in the translation. Like, the whole thing.
posted by snofoam at 7:54 PM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Good evening.

I would like to begin by introducing myself. My name is Hydrogen, and I come from a low-income neighborhood where life is not very comfortable. I’ve stolen many things and been involved in many altercations, most of which ended in gunfire. In addition to this I’ve had sexual intercourse with a great number of the opposite sex. In contrast and despite the lack of legitimate evidence, I believe you to have been involved in a fair amount of homosexual activities; activities I and my companions look down upon. I am so much stronger than you and my powers of rhetoric so much greater than yours that you could employ an army of some sort to aid in your fight with me, but I of course will prevail, because I am stronger than you. I’m sure I needn’t remind you of my place of birth, wherein as I explained before, the living conditions are much worse than in your aforementioned city of residence.

I would like to stop here for a moment and remind you that I am orating with little or no prior preparation, an act commonly referred to as “freestyling.” Once again, and I think this bears repeating, I would like to re-state my claim that I am in fact much stronger and have endured a larger number of hardships than you. Hardships which have left me with an aggressive behavior and imposing demeanor which I believe frightens you. I know of a woman with whom you have had sexual intercourse. I too have had sexual intercourse with said woman and she complained to me of your less than exemplary performance in bed. She went on to explain to me in graphic detail the dimensions and particulars of your genitals, and I tell you what she said is not very generous, sir.

In conclusion, I would like to leave you with a brief summary of my argument. You sir, are a weak, timid, and untrustworthy homosexual. The city in which you live is not nearly as difficult to live in nor is it in such a high state of disrepair as mine. I am the superior monologist in this debate and any claim to the contrary will result in physical violence and perhaps even death.
posted by Dr-Baa at 7:55 PM on June 15, 2009 [15 favorites]


Unfortunately the so-called translators would appear to lack a certain facility with the original text. Thus my enjoyment of the derivative work was sadly muted.
posted by oddman at 7:56 PM on June 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Upon viewing both the 'translation' and the original, I think the satirists took some pretty substantial liberties with the meaning of the original. There are a few specific parts that are common to both, like references to coming from rough neighborhoods and experience with fights and violence. There are also some vaguely similar themes like sexual prowess but the original and the 'translation' vary wildly in the particulars.

I'm not sure if it would've been better or worse if the satirists had stuck more closely to the script instead of resorting to clichés and stereotypes. Anyway, that's enough beanplating for me.

I will say the ending was quite surprising. The music was a nice touch.
posted by jedicus at 7:59 PM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Play him off, freestyle cat...
posted by Rock Steady at 8:05 PM on June 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


And a good day to you too, sir.

I would like to rebut your previous claims in an improvisational and rhythmic manner. I was given the name Boost by my peers. The alleged facts you’ve uncovered in regards to me are unfounded and without merit. My birthplace is not only vastly inferior to yours, but my neighbors are also much more resilient. In terms of your claim to my sexuality, Sigmund Freud theorized that in some cases, the semi-conscious mind manifests repressed desires, therefore leading me to believe that you sir, are the homosexual. In fact, I once had a romantic rendezvous with your biological mother in which felatio was performed forthwith and without explanation. The encounter lasted several hours, and many unspeakable acts were implemented. I paid her for her services, and no subsequent contact, either verbally or physically, has been made.

I brandish a 9 MM pistol which I stole from a man involved in a gang-related turf war. I have fired the pistol several times, and in some cases critically wounded those with whom I was in contest with. I would like to inform the audience that I engage in the sale and consumption of illegal narcotics on a regular basis. Speaking candidly, I am in no form intimidated or fearful of your actions, as I have been involved in countless altercations which have ended less than favorably. In summation, your argument denotes a lack of intellectual honesty on your part. It is my contention that this matter would best be solved with fisticuffs. I believe I will be victorious in this regard.
posted by Dr-Baa at 8:10 PM on June 15, 2009 [8 favorites]


There are a few specific parts that are common to both, like references to coming from rough neighborhoods and experience with fights and violence. There are also some vaguely similar themes like sexual prowess but the original and the 'translation' vary wildly in the particulars..


Can you translate this to free-style form now?
posted by The1andonly at 8:13 PM on June 15, 2009


I was hoping for what would be a Strunk and White or Chicago Manual essay form freestyle battle actually delivered with some poetry and flow, but apparently stuffy white boys can't rap.

My massive astonishment? Vanishingly minuscule.
posted by loquacious at 8:16 PM on June 15, 2009


Can you translate this to free-style form now?

Like machine translating from English to Russian to English?

That could be cool.
posted by eriko at 8:19 PM on June 15, 2009


I hate this video without even having watched it.
posted by decagon at 8:32 PM on June 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's a parody, not a Carnegie Mellon research project. Clearly these boys are fans of hip hop, nothing more.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:35 PM on June 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


oddman: "Unfortunately the so-called translators would appear to lack a certain facility with the original text. Thus my enjoyment of the derivative work was sadly muted."

Let me try:

I'm Hydrogen, the foremost element,
And from my element came much despair.
At fighting and at theft I don't relent,
And often I have sex with pomp and flare.
To wit, and though from hearsay come the tales,
You seem a sodomite before my eyes.
Abomination 'midst my brethren fails
To win o'er our respect before it tries.
My muscles and my poesy are prime.
Your armies I'll engage and then defeat.
And as a footnote, I'll add one more time:
That I am from a rough and tumble street.
My rhymes are quick, my crimes are without end,
And so, indeed, I've fucked your girlfriend.
posted by The White Hat at 8:43 PM on June 15, 2009 [74 favorites]


Well, I liked it. I thought it was gently amusing. I wonder if the phrasing of the FPP is getting people's backs up - HAY THIS IS ALL HIP-HOP!!1

The reason it works for me is because it parodies the idiocy of a certain type of 'rap battle', where it's all about ludicrous posturing and ugly homophobia rather than technical acumen, improvisational skills and charisma. I didn't think it was trying to 'translate' this specific exchange - they just needed some suitable footage to dub their template over. Stripping the clichés from their usual context exposes just how stupid and banal they are. A lot of freestyle battles are horrendously clichéd, but fans don't notice because they're so caught up in the dull dick-measuring contest. Some of my favourite MCs are female, and they stay out of battling because there are so many twatty blokes on the scene that can't rhyme for shit but will stand there going 'you're a bitch, you're a whore, you're a lesbian, I'll fuck you after this' instead of demonstrating any sort of entry level skill. And certain crowds eat it up because they're high off the adrenalin of two people who look like they might start lamping each other (as in this vid).

So yeah, until it's no longer relevant, I'm all for people taking the piss out of that sort of juvenile dickery.
posted by RokkitNite at 8:59 PM on June 15, 2009 [16 favorites]


I hate this video without even having watched it.

I hate the comment I am making without even having made it.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:59 PM on June 15, 2009 [5 favorites]


OK, I tried really hard not to like this - "trust me the results are nothing short of amazing" - sounded too much like a challenge.

But when he started quoting Freud at ~2:00... I was almost LOLing. Thanks for the morning chuckles, The1andonly.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:04 PM on June 15, 2009


I'm trying to increase my signal-to-snark ratio, so I'll add this: I don't actually feel all that strongly about this video (which I have now seen) or the many others like it. It's just that the trope of rewriting hip-hop lyrics in "correct" English is basically as old as rap itself, requires no skills to execute save a basic command of the prestige dialect, and doesn't really express anything other than a dislike of rap.

I mean, there's a cheap laugh to be had in the incongruity between the content and the haughty register, but Mark Twain did it better.
posted by decagon at 9:05 PM on June 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


On further reflection, I have to admit I'm mainly just reacting to its staleness. If this were the first one of these I'd seen, I might well have found it hilarious.
posted by decagon at 9:13 PM on June 15, 2009


As I was biking home today, two homeboys walking up the middle of the street didst call out "lo! and hark! yon gentleman of the helmet in the round and of the brightly striped raiment aboard the weak and sickly steed mayst be a servant of his majesty, by which I mean a lieutenant of the guard of the tower, who hast made his way to these parts by means unknown for purposes unknown, and as a nefarious miscreant and trespasser mayst immediately be shot if crossbow only I had!"

True story. Well, in translation.
posted by dhartung at 10:01 PM on June 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


oh fuckdamnit, I translated the entire first paragraph of that into SQL code, and it keeps getting truncated by some overzealous filtering mechanism. The code tag does nothing. Man, what a waste. Uhm, I guess if anybody wants to see it, I can email it to them or something.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:03 PM on June 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


On further reflection, I have to admit I'm mainly just reacting to its staleness. If this were the first one of these I'd seen, I might well have found it hilarious.

First time for me. But it's the same reasoning for a lot of things, yes? Erm... Come to think of it, the "I speak Jive" bit from the Zucker Brothers' Flying High [I believe you crazy Americans called it Airplane!] from 30 years ago is pretty much in the same vein.

Who else was thinking of The Four Yorkshiremen sketch from Monty Python? "My birthplace is not only vastly inferior to yours..." etc.

Why some y'all assume the person talking is white? Black people find it impossible to talk like that? Racists.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:09 PM on June 15, 2009


I thought this was a double. Here's they're site.
posted by P.o.B. at 10:20 PM on June 15, 2009


I hate this.
posted by basicchannel at 10:27 PM on June 15, 2009


I translated the entire first paragraph of that into SQL code, and it keeps getting truncated by some overzealous filtering mechanism.

Imagine that, a web form that doesn't let SQL pass through in its unadulterated, pristine form.
It's almost like they were trying to overzealously protect against some sort of puncture or injection or something.
posted by signal at 10:31 PM on June 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is what it would sound like if hip hop was translated to proper form

Am I just a complete and total nerd for thinking of Third Normal Form when I saw this?

Here's my translation of our hero's monologue into SQL. (tried to post it here, but it was zapped by the filtration mechanism)

Oh, who the hell am I kidding? That's in second normal form at best.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:38 PM on June 15, 2009 [9 favorites]


I hate your grammar but I love your momma.
posted by pracowity at 11:36 PM on June 15, 2009


So...racist jokes made by people of color = MetaFilter flies into a rage.

Condescending FPP of very old video that hates on rap = MetaFilter lols.

Got it.

(For the record I did like this when I saw it, but this video is trollbait...the fight in the original video seems to be the result of gang problems that were brewing off camera, not a breakdown in the freestyle battle format due to punkass bitchitude).

Meanwhile here are some freestyles in their ACTUAL actual proper form.

These
Results
Truly Are
Amazing.

Bammas
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:52 PM on June 15, 2009 [10 favorites]


This leaves a very bad taste in my mouth, and I feel worse for having watched it.
posted by Captain Cardanthian! at 12:02 AM on June 16, 2009


Hehe.. awesome. And to the people who are like "wait he didn't ACTUALLY listen to the original rap".... well, the original rap kind of sucks and he doesn't say much of anything. so, this "inauthentic" translation basically distills nearly every rap stereotype, cliche, cadence and trope in a funny and nerdy package.
posted by ChickenringNYC at 12:03 AM on June 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


I thought it was a meta-joke: They are translating into 'rap' into it's exact opposite, 'legalese'. LAter, and certainly after reading the thread, I thought about these probably white guys 'translating' what these black guys were saying and how that's kind of lame. But what does that say about the way 'white' guys speak? See, it doesn't work, because the joke is not about race but rhetoric, translating one rhetorical style into another.

Whatever the case, I'm clinging to my (maybe)illusion that it's funny.
posted by From Bklyn at 12:32 AM on June 16, 2009


This translation of Biggie Smalls made me laugh in around 1995; not sure if its still funny nowadays
posted by criticalbill at 1:56 AM on June 16, 2009


Funny video, but man does it make me wince when people infer that all hiphop or even all rap battling adheres to the same tired stereotypes. Almost as bad, is acting like hiphop culture is exclusively African American. It didn't even start out that way, and it's certainly not that way now.

I suppose you can be forgiven for really having no idea how many awful polish gangster rappers there are (both faux and alarmingly genuine), but you're kidding me if you're going to try and say you didn't know there's some seriously clever people out there who do rapping. Surely?
posted by TheTorns at 2:06 AM on June 16, 2009


On their web site, the makers of the video (Ben and Ryan) give a fairly unconventional reply to the charges of racism that some have levelled at them:

....so in closing, while we make no apologies for the perceived offensiveness of the clip, we also would like to discourage the further misreading of this video as some sort of comedic entertainment which it most certainly is not.
posted by memebake at 2:58 AM on June 16, 2009


Yo, we make you feel the heat
This lyric liquid my gills increase, ill speech
Stills at least 2na builds and reveals the beat
Dollar bills don't make me feel complete
Only the wonders of God can repel and dispel deceit
Burn opponents until they smell defeat
I repeat, turning moment was when they yelled "Retreat!" on the beat
My brain cells have tweaked from insane levels of heat
I'm the fish, with the carnivorous teeth
posted by bwg at 5:36 AM on June 16, 2009


The racism makes me wanna puke. I could spend hours writing some insightful essay deconstructing the multiplicities of levels on which this perpetuates stereotypes while purporting to mock them, but I don't have the time.
posted by mareli at 5:56 AM on June 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Calling this racism is in itself prejudiced. It assumes black men are incapable of psuedo-legalese english, and it also assumes white men are uninterested in, and incapable of, freestyle rap. This video mocks the style of over-formalized academic translation more than it does urban colloquialism. It's a harmless dig at both cultures, and the schtick would probably work well with a country and western performance, too.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:09 AM on June 16, 2009 [6 favorites]


black people talk funny amirite amirite
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:54 AM on June 16, 2009


From memebake's link above:

Both Ben and myself have had nearly no contact with individuals of any race, color or creed other than our own. In fact, the both of us have had very little contact with anyone other than each other. Most of our knowledge is of the 'book' variety, although we frequently peruse a number of periodicals and scholarly journals to keep abreast of the goings-on in contemporary society. The musical style referred to, variously as hip hop, rap, urban and urban-alternative, while creative in its own right, is of no particular interest to us other than sociologically. The music itself is rather a travesty and should be of no interest to anyone over the age of ten.

Wow. Just. WOW.

I'm hoping this is some clever punk (prank?) because if not, god damn, fuck these guys, fuck these guys 5000%.

"No, we're not racist. We're just admitted xenophobes who hate this sort of culture."
posted by cavalier at 7:05 AM on June 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ok. I'm breathing deeply again, it has to be a lark, nothing they write there rings true when compared with the rest of the site. I done been trolled.
posted by cavalier at 7:06 AM on June 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it wouldn't be funny at all if they didn't like hip-hop. But that doesn't mean it's not an easy and somewhat hackneyed joke. I wish they'd done a real translation of a different battle, and that the music at the end didn't seem like a vague reference to minstrelsy.

[Still didn't flag this post cuz snitches = stitches imo]

posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:17 AM on June 16, 2009


Bwg:

I have the record. I don't think a lot of people know any Charli Tuna records outside of jurassic 5 and they definitley get no love in the club. That's one of my favorite records to play though. I wish hip hop would have continued on that pace.
posted by LouieLoco at 8:19 AM on June 16, 2009


Unsubtle imputations of racism? Wouldn't be MetaFilter without 'em.

RokkitNite already won this thread, so there's little to add - watch Freestyle if you want to see the form done well (Juice, Aceyalone, Mos Def, and others will boggle your mind). On the other hand the shit being parodied in this video deserves it, and worse.
posted by waxbanks at 8:20 AM on June 16, 2009


Quite a few people are missing a trick here. The youtube comments (I know) below this clip are in fact the real source of humour here: youtube users discuss the origins of man and racism and it all goes swimmingly well.
posted by ob at 8:38 AM on June 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


LouieLoco, I like several Jurassic 5 tunes not only for the music but the vernacular.

We Know Something is a great throwback to the days when rap battles were about rap, not about calling the other guy a homosexual.

And who in his right mind could hate the video?
posted by bwg at 8:46 AM on June 16, 2009


Oh metafilter, where did it all go wrong?
posted by ciderwoman at 9:35 AM on June 16, 2009


This would truly be racist if Hydrogen and Boost actually were representative of all black people and hip hop. Which they aren't.
posted by Brocktoon at 10:16 AM on June 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't think a lot of people know any Charli Tuna records outside of jurassic 5

Might help if he didn't take on the name of one of the most legendary DJs in California + Armed Forces Radio... what's next, "Wulfman Jac"?
posted by crapmatic at 10:42 AM on June 16, 2009


One of the founding members of the X-men DJ crew was named Johnny Cash.

I always thought that was a great fucking rap name (the crew also included Roc Raida, who might be named after a Lego set).
posted by box at 11:26 AM on June 16, 2009


so, this "inauthentic" translation basically distills nearly every rap stereotype, cliche, cadence and trope in a funny and nerdy package.

[x] stuff white people like
posted by splice at 11:49 AM on June 16, 2009


I don't think this is in any way racist. Hip hop is a way of life and the musical genres that were born from it still assume their original form. Hip hop in most instances could not be done in Shakespearian language, as it is shown in the video. The culture has produced numerous pieces that beat anything written in plain old English.
posted by TMcGregor at 11:56 AM on June 16, 2009


TMcGregor: "Hip hop in most instances could not be done in Shakespearian language"

I take umbrage.
posted by The White Hat at 1:33 PM on June 16, 2009


Am I missing something? How is this racist? It's clearly making fun of the language and content of rap. If it's stereotypical, it's only stereotyping the genre and has nothing inherently to do with race. They could have just as easily used a clip with Eminem free-styling.
posted by TimeTravelSpeed at 2:31 PM on June 16, 2009


The voiceovers are no more proper form for a freestyle battle than a freestyle rhyme would be for Toastmasters

I came here to publically speak
I don't care how you eke out your wage
the message on the same page
has arrived, and deprives of disaster
How whack is the previous lack of Toastmaster?


Actually, you're probably right.
posted by Sparx at 5:01 PM on June 16, 2009


You're a fake-ass Toastmaster, your gold watch is plastic,
with your Sansabelt slacks with the busted elastic.
Your speech is incoherent, and it's apparent
that your lame conclusion is totally without merit.
Your points are dull, you got the wack asides
while I can transition like a PowerPoint slide.
I'ma burn you like toast, make you call me 'master.'
Next time, get to the point a little faster.
posted by box at 5:23 PM on June 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Calling this racism is in itself prejudiced. It assumes black men are incapable of psuedo-legalese english, and it also assumes white men are uninterested in, and incapable of, freestyle rap.

This is the money quote, which I *ahem* also aluded to above. Anyone saying this is racist must answer these questions first. There's gotta be a term for this. I see it all the time on Metafilter. A concern racist maybe?

Axel Foley: What? Y'all the second team?
Detective McCabe: We're the first team.
Detective Foster: Yeah, and we're not gonna fall for a banana in the tailpipe.
Axel Foley: [mocking him] You're not gonna fall for the banana in the tailpipe? It should be more natural, brother. It should flow out, like this - "Look, man, I ain't fallin' for no banana in my tailpipe!" See, that's more natural for us. You been hanging out with this dude too long.

posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:27 PM on June 16, 2009


Reminds of me of this dancing
posted by fightoplankton at 6:53 PM on June 16, 2009


Sorry, "address these points," not "answer these questions." In case anyone wants to avoid the issue by pointing out that mistake instead.

Last time I bought it up I was instead accused of using too many exclamation marks and CAPS, and not much else got discussed.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 7:56 PM on June 16, 2009


the schtick would probably work well with a country and western performance, too.

"I'm in jail for robbing a store after my wife left me, my home was foreclosed upon, my truck was repossessed, and my dog died."
posted by deanc at 8:52 PM on June 16, 2009


I don't really see how this is racist. It's just an exchange of battle rap for parliamentarian discourse. I don't know that I care much for the way the post is phrased... there being no "proper form" of any language. But, the content of the thing itself is merely trite, not racist.

And the original battle is just terrible. Like, some of the worst freestyle I've ever heard. As in, I think I could stand up to Hydrogen, and I'm bloody awful at freestyle.

the schtick would probably work well with a country and western performance, too.

Unnecessary. Country is already a parody of itself.

That's why I like it so much.
posted by Netzapper at 9:50 PM on June 16, 2009


White boy rap.
posted by bwg at 5:00 AM on June 17, 2009


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