California Schemin'
April 18, 2010 10:49 AM   Subscribe

Your dreams of rapping superstardom are stymied by your Scottish sound, so what do you do? Simple: reinvent yourself as a West Coast wild boy, with American accent and history to match. Keeping it real might be murder, but even when it all falls apart, at least you got to tour with Eminem and D12 – and you can salvage something by writing a book about it all.
posted by Len (67 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
They had a song called Cunt

That would have been a bit of a giveaway, surely?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:02 AM on April 18, 2010


Also: Gavin Bain: rap impostor

Full disclosure: I worked for The Scotsman on and off for a few years.
posted by Len at 11:03 AM on April 18, 2010


An interview with Silibil N Brains. One of them keeps slipping into a Christopher Walken impression.
posted by stavrogin at 11:13 AM on April 18, 2010


That was actually a much more entertaining story than I expected it to be.
posted by XMLicious at 11:24 AM on April 18, 2010


Awesome. I love a good hoax story.
posted by LiliaNic at 11:27 AM on April 18, 2010


They decided they would come from Hemet, a small city in California they'd heard of because Boyd's cousin lived there. Both aspiring young hip-hop artists, they first met at a rap battle contest in San Francisco - which they'd read about and could therefore describe in reasonable detail - and moved to Huntington Beach to work in skate stores, before a skate tour brought them to London. "We said we were trying to get a deal here, but if it didn't work out for us we'd go home."

The story trips easily off Bain's tongue - and after all, it is only a judicious adaptation of the truth. They did, due to "British heritage", both hold UK passports. They did hate the president. "We said we hate George Bush so much, we can't stand living in the country while he's in the White House." Even so, had anyone only asked them their home zip code, they would have been floored. Bain didn't even know how Hemet was spelt, or the difference between a town and a state. He'd never set foot in America.


My hat's off to these guys. I mean, think of how HARD this would be to pull off and have NO ONE suspect anything, especially without even doing any research about the place you're supposed to have come from. The accents must have been REALLY convincing.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:34 AM on April 18, 2010


Never heard of these guys.
posted by cashman at 11:41 AM on April 18, 2010


I know how pervasive American culture is, but it still strikes me as amazing that these guys could accurately recreate convincing American accents that fooled not only other British people, but also Americans (including a live-in girlfriend)! And the fact that this was a largely spontaneous thing, and that these accents weren't rehearsed well in advance, impresses me that much more. My hat is off to them for being able to maintain this act for several years.
posted by LiliaNic at 11:43 AM on April 18, 2010


They decided they would come from Hemet, a small city in California they'd heard of because Boyd's cousin lived there.
Riverside County? Really? Hemet? If I were aspiring to become a rapper, and needed a backstory, Hemet and Riverside County would not be part of it. Unless, of course, having a meth addiction was part of my backstory.
posted by Dreamcast at 11:43 AM on April 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is really fucking sad. Not Bain, not Boyd, but everyone else in that story, everyone who isn't named. Everyone who laughed them offstage, didn't give them so much as even consideration for seriousness (quips about being a novelty act) while they rapped in Scottish, and then of the huge success they eventually had:

Not a single other thing had changed - not a beat, not a line - just the accent.

Everyone in that story who isn't Bain or Boyd (or maybe Kirkwood) should be god damn ashamed.
posted by Dysk at 11:45 AM on April 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is them performing, apparently.
posted by djgh at 11:46 AM on April 18, 2010


Oh Lord, this part is simply amazing (they had told their manager while drunk that they knew Eminem and Proof from way back, and then were booked on D12's tour with their management excited about the "happy reunion"):

Proof and the rest of D12 were already on stage doing the sound check when Boyd and Bain arrived at Brixton Academy for their first tour date. With their manager looking on, excited to witness the happy reunion, there was nothing else for it; if lying is a drug, this must be the high. The pair took a deep breath, sauntered on to the stage, whooped, "Yo, Proof man!" and high-fived a man they'd never met in their life. "Been too long, bro! Cool to see you again!" And the hip-hop icon, taken unawares, high-fived and hugged the strangers back, and agreed it had indeed been too long.

That is FUCKING AWESOME. I don't know how these guys walk around, don't their giant swinging balls get in the way?
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:57 AM on April 18, 2010 [14 favorites]


Riverside County? Really? Hemet? If I were aspiring to become a rapper, and needed a backstory, Hemet and Riverside County would not be part of it.

Yeah, I guess they were dealing entirely with British people who knew less about the US than even they did, because I've never even been there and I know that Hemet is a tiny backwater in the middle of the desert mostly known for housing the secret headquarters of Scientology. Which is why they put it there, because it's in the middle of nowhere.
posted by DecemberBoy at 12:06 PM on April 18, 2010


They still sound pretty Scottish to me
posted by cyphill at 12:16 PM on April 18, 2010


Come on, there are so many rappers who lie about their background to gain 'street cred' (especially the white dudes), how is this even news?
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:41 PM on April 18, 2010


They still sound pretty Scottish to me

Agreed. Those are shit American accents. I find it hard to believe they fooled anyone offstage for more than two minutes.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:02 PM on April 18, 2010


They still sound pretty Scottish to me

Thirded -- check this freestyle for example.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 1:20 PM on April 18, 2010


Big Fat Tycoon, it's a little ambiguous, but the description for that YouTube video sort of suggests this is a recent recording, from well after he 'outed' himself as a Scot - not while he was living as an American. I could forgive him for not having practised the accent much since...
posted by Dysk at 1:25 PM on April 18, 2010


Agreed. Those are shit American accents. I find it hard to believe they fooled anyone offstage for more than two minutes.

The thing is, though, there are so many different American accents that unless an American just sounds absolutely fucking bizarre, you will assume (as an American encountering an unusual accent) that the speaker is just from somewhere you've never been. Like, a person from the UK who talks like they're from the UK is instantly recognizable (though we might also assume they're Australian), but if you're from New York and there's someone with an unfamiliar accent who's from Riverside County in California? Unless that guy is calling people "doss cunts" or "wee bairns," you're not gonna question it. Because how do you know what someone from Riverside sounds like?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:25 PM on April 18, 2010


Thirded -- check this freestyle for example.

That's his real voice, though, recorded after the hoax was exposed. It says so in the description, and one of his lines is something like "I'm not American, I'm a British dork".
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:26 PM on April 18, 2010


Speaking of which, his actual voice doesn't sound so hilarious to me. I was imagining like a really heavy Groundskeeper Willie accent. I don't get what was so ridiculous about rappers with a Scottish accent, I guess you'd have to be more familiar with British culture. What I'm getting from all this is that the Scottish accent is looked at by people from London in the way someone from NYC would look at an Alabama accent, i.e. provincial and uneducated. One of the guys said he even caught himself thinking that when he overheard Scottish people and was using his fake American voice.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:30 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think as an American I may be missing something. Do Scottish people often get looked down upon by English Brits? Is it a generally believed stereotype that Scots are unsophisticated? Honestly my only knowledge of Scots (at this point) comes from The Thick of It with Malcolm & Jamie.
posted by PostIronyIsNotaMyth at 1:30 PM on April 18, 2010


Come on, there are so many rappers who lie about their background to gain 'street cred' (especially the white dudes)

And here we see precisely why these guys had to pretend to be Americans from California: this bullshit desire for "authenticity", discussed IIRC in one of the articles even. A white rapper is somehow inauthentic, right, because rap is "black music", and a white rapper with a funny accent even more so. The funny part is, no actual fan of hip hop has this opinion. It was always only the meathead rock fans calling Eminem a "wigger". It's the people who don't even listen to it and know very little about it, which unfortunately includes many of the decision makers at the record companies that eventually record and release it.
posted by DecemberBoy at 1:37 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


This might seem strange to Americans, but a lot of people see language/accent as a key ingredient of genre. I once talked to a lead singer of a Finnish rock band who sang in English - he said if he sung in Finnish it would be by definition not rock music. Also here in Ireland there are a ton of awful country singers that sing with American accents.
posted by kersplunk at 1:46 PM on April 18, 2010


Fantastic story. In stavrogin's link, they sound like they could pass for Americans, or at least, I would buy it. If the music in the video is theirs, they also sound exactly like a sort of skate-punk Eminem, and I can totally see how they could generate an A&R buzz at that time.

It's like a modern-day Yentl. Just a terrific story.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 1:49 PM on April 18, 2010


Unless that guy is calling people "doss cunts" or "wee bairns," you're not gonna question it. Because how do you know what someone from Riverside sounds like?

I've grown up on the west coast of the U.S. and I've been to Riverside. So nope, sorry, I can tell right off that they aren't from anywhere in America. The only thing I think would get them a pass in most instances would be the perception that anybody who runs into them would think "they aren't from my part of the world". If one of them came out and said they were from California I would have given them a funny look and followed up with a few questions about where and how long they lived here or there. Which would have blown their cover instantly. They constantly fall in and out of their "accents", which is kind of a dead giveaway. People who've picked up a bit of an accent from moving around don't really do that. Plus when they are really trying to inflect an "American accent" they are doing much more of an east coast type.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:03 PM on April 18, 2010


I also don't think an American who has a decent ear would be hard pressed to pick out the foreign accent. A New Yorker could just as easily pick out a Californian and vice versa, and the same would go for a northerner to a southerner.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:09 PM on April 18, 2010


P.o.B., it's a real small step from "these people aren't from my part of the world" to buying whatever story they're telling you about where they're from - especially if it's not your part of the world. Some of the utter dreck that gets passed off as a British accent in Hong Kong (and presumably the 'States as well, since that's the clientèle for the aforementioned accents in HK) with great success...
posted by Dysk at 2:10 PM on April 18, 2010


The thing is, though, there are so many different American accents that unless an American just sounds absolutely fucking bizarre, you will assume (as an American encountering an unusual accent) that the speaker is just from somewhere you've never been. Like, a person from the UK who talks like they're from the UK is instantly recognizable (though we might also assume they're Australian), but if you're from New York and there's someone with an unfamiliar accent who's from Riverside County in California? Unless that guy is calling people "doss cunts" or "wee bairns," you're not gonna question it. Because how do you know what someone from Riverside sounds like?

I wouldn't say there are so many accents, relative to Britain, but I would agree on Americans just assuming a slightly "off" accent was perhaps from another part of the country or the speaker's own affectations. Many Americans police their accents, particularly variations on the "standard" Midland accent, far less than other English-speakers, due to cultural hegemony in the world, although the Scots were trying for something non-rhotic (that "Christopher Walken impression"). California is also a great choice, I think, if you wanted to pretend to be American, since it's at the heart of the dream factory. So, in short, Britain gets a lot of American cultural exports, including constant exposure to American English and Americans attempting British accents, and Americans, on the whole, are not that experienced in calling out "fake" American accents. Especially if you're a Texan who might be able to date a bona fide Californian rock star, since you're most familiar with Texan English and Californians speak differently.
posted by Gnatcho at 2:13 PM on April 18, 2010


Yes, I get that. I said as much. I still think those are shit accents and they were fooling people who didn't really care that much.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:13 PM on April 18, 2010


Unless that guy is calling people "doss cunts" or "wee bairns," you're not gonna question it.

Laughed my ass off. Like every amusing incident in Irvine Welsh's oeuvre rolled into a single one liner.

But yeah, I agree there's just too much linguistic miscegenation in the US for anything that doesn't fit squarely into a regional stereotype to throw anyone off... ESPECIALLY in the hip hop scene, where white kids - fans and artists alike - completely manufacture accents to sound more "black".
posted by squeakyfromme at 2:14 PM on April 18, 2010


linguistic miscegenation

Nice.
posted by cashman at 2:16 PM on April 18, 2010


Also - slightly off topic - but why is it that Brits tend to an easier time mastering a convincing American accent while Americans generally struggle to pull off even an EXAGGERATED British accent for comedic effect?
posted by squeakyfromme at 2:17 PM on April 18, 2010


Because as I said, Britons consume a shitload more American culture than the reverse.
posted by Gnatcho at 2:19 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm in the minority here, but I can hear an obvious non-US accent that they keep stumbling over some words with and at the end of most every single sentence.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:21 PM on April 18, 2010


Gnatcho, Brits (I nearly said "we" which shows how long I've been living in the UK and quite how strong my Danish identity is) are exposed to American accents enough for it to be a 'normal' accent almost on par with certain British regional dialects. It's my understanding that a British accent carries more connotations in the US, which indicates to me that it sees less general-purpose use (and thus much less use overall)?

More bluntly put - the UK imports American music and TV to a greater degree than the reverse.
posted by Dysk at 2:25 PM on April 18, 2010


here in Ireland there are a ton of awful country singers that sing with American accents.

Compare Mick Jagger's singing accent with his speaking accent.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:41 PM on April 18, 2010


Having watched the interview now, their accents are convincing enough to me. Since I know they're actually Scottish I can pick up on when they let it slip a little, but otherwise I probably wouldn't. They don't sound Scottish at all, however they don't sound like they're from anywhere near the west coast either, particularly "Brains", who occasionally lapses into a guido-ish northeastern accent. However, that doesn't really mean anything, he could have lived other places as a kid, say.
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:42 PM on April 18, 2010


Compare Mick Jagger's singing accent with his speaking accent.

Both my parents assumed for years that Brits somehow just naturally sounded American when they sang. I don't know where they got this from, since even though the British Invasion bands were imitating American accents, none of them were particularly good at it and you can still tell they're actually British, particularly the Beatles. I guess a lot of American kids probably assumed that.
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:45 PM on April 18, 2010


PostIronyIsNotaMyth: I think as an American I may be missing something. Do Scottish people often get looked down upon by English Brits? Is it a generally believed stereotype that Scots are unsophisticated? Honestly my only knowledge of Scots (at this point) comes from The Thick of It with Malcolm & Jamie.

I was going to wait to see if anyone else answered this because I didn't want to wade in with a huge derail comment in my own thread if someone else was going to be nice and concise, but: if only it were that simple! There is huge variety within Scottish accents; likewise within English ones. And accents are so intricately bound up with class that calculating the effects of each on the other soon becomes very complicated very quickly. (This is true in the US as well, but not nearly to the same extent, I don't think.)

There are plenty of English accents which, to a posh Englishman (like, say, David Cameron) would instantly mark their speaker down as unsophisticated at best and some sort of yokel or ogre at worst. Cameron might not mind a well-spoken Scottish accent – say that of Gordon Brown or Alistair Darling, politics aside. But he'd probably consider Jamie from The Thick Of It a working-class Glasgow thug from his accent on its own, let alone what he uses it to say.

Then, on the other hand, someone with Darling's accent may look down on someone with a broad regional English accent for much the same reason Cameron would. But he may also look down upon Cameron for the simple reason that he doesn't like English people of any class, and he may be more sympathetic to someone with a working class Glasgow accent simply because they're Scottish. On the other hand, he may hate the working class Glaswegian because he's from Edinburgh, and there's some bitter emnity going on between those two cities. Jamie would almost definitely consider Darling a jumped-up east coast ponse with more fuckin' airs than Johann Sebastian Bach's G string, who spent too much time chasing skirt at some poxy English Uni and therefore may as well be David fuckin' Cameron as far as he's concerned. And he'd be right. [NOT EDINBURGH-IST] Tucker, on the other hand, is middle class and well-educated west coast, who realises the effectiveness of dropping a rung or two down the class scale for aggressiveness and swearing possibilities.

So Nationalism and regionalism, both inter- and intra-country, complicate it even further. You've seen The Thick Of It, so you'll know the stuff about the London media having a perception that Westminster is dominated by some sort of Scottish mafia, which they resent. A lot of Scots, on the other hand, resent the London media resenting them, seeing it as just another way in which London (and by extension England) subjugate the Scots as they have always done. Other Scots, meanwhile, think the London media have a case in point, though they moan about it too much because it appeals to Daily Mail readers, and as for subjugation, well the Scots were pretty good at doing that when we were running the slave trade in the Caribbean.

Oh, and finally: the International Dialects of English Archive has brilliant examples – with class and regional contexts explained – for both Scotland and England. It's fascinating stuff, and if you can be arsed, puts into audio context that barrage of verbiage I've just vomited out.
posted by Len at 3:38 PM on April 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


This might seem strange to Americans, but a lot of people see language/accent as a key ingredient of genre.

It's not really that strange when you think about it a little: patois and the Jamaican accent are an essential component of reggae, particularly dancehall, and if I heard somebody toasting over a dancehall riddim with a Kennedy-esque MA accent, for example, it would sound ridiculous. However, since hip hop and rock are products of our own culture, we don't think of the vocalist's manner of speech as important or even notice it.
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:33 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


somebody toasting over a dancehall riddim with a Kennedy-esque MA accent

Actually now that I think about it this would be kind of awesome.

Mi park di cahhh inna Harvard Yaaaaahd
Mi play touch football den date rape a broaaaahd
posted by DecemberBoy at 4:37 PM on April 18, 2010 [9 favorites]


But think of the possibilities of plummy toasting! "Oh, I and I say! That's Jah-ther beastly of you!" etc.
posted by No-sword at 4:40 PM on April 18, 2010


This would make for a fantastic movie.
posted by effugas at 4:55 PM on April 18, 2010


I'm going to say that I don't buy this. I could be wrong, but I've been googling them and trying to figure this out and I just can't find anything from them pre late, late 2009. They'd have more hits if they'd really done something. I get this sense their story is a scam. Someone prove me wrong, please, because it's a great, great story.
posted by matthewstopheles at 6:55 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Been too long, bro! Cool to see you again!" And the hip-hop icon, taken unawares, high-fived and hugged the strangers back, and agreed it had indeed been too long.

Not difficult to believe. Touring musicians meet a lot of people, and meet a lot of people while completely fucking wasted. Moreover, they meet a lot of fans who act familiar with them when they don't know them at all. Their default reaction to that back stage is gonna be, well, 'i don't recognize this dude at all, but he might be important or maybe we did rails off a groupie's ass together last time i was in town and i just don't remember, so I'll just play it off like i know this guy.'
posted by empath at 6:59 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


i'm also highly skeptical of the whole story though. not seeing a single news mention prior to this year
posted by empath at 7:04 PM on April 18, 2010


Because as I said, Britons consume a shitload more American culture than the reverse.

That occurred to me, but I also wonder if the fact that Brits tend to enunciate their syllables more clearly whereas Americans take a more functional approach, frequently slurring letters and syllables into each other, ie. speed over style?

Another likelihood is that - as actors or comedians or whatever - Brits and even other Europeans are more likely to be called upon to simulate an American accent than an American would be to simulate a British one. That kind of ties in with the disproportionate consumption of culture, because consumption alone doesn't necessarily lead to practice and I don't think you can master an accent sheerly through osmosis.
posted by squeakyfromme at 7:10 PM on April 18, 2010


I'm going to say that I don't buy this. I could be wrong, but I've been googling them and trying to figure this out and I just can't find anything from them pre late, late 2009. They'd have more hits if they'd really done something. I get this sense their story is a scam. Someone prove me wrong, please, because it's a great, great story.

It's possible. Back in the mid-90s there was a major label grunge band named Life, Sex & death that marketed themselves as being fronted by a homeless guy. Sounds good, right? A real success story. The problem is it was all a gimmick and the singer turned out to be some no name hair metal journeyman in ratty clothes.

I really don't have that much of a problem with nobody questioning the accents at the time, though. For one thing, it's always easier to pick these things apart in hindsight, but for another even if one of the labels execs picked up on it and kind of wondered about it he likely would have just written it off as a peculiarity rather than launching a full scale investigation into their background. Besides, as I established above, it's not unusual for label execs to intentionally mislead their public, and had they known they probably would have came to the same conclusion the artists did: that they would sell better if they were regarded as white rappers from California than they would if they were rappers of any color from Scotland. If required to compose a list of British rappers most Americans would probably be lucky to get past Dizzee Rascal.
posted by squeakyfromme at 7:20 PM on April 18, 2010


I think the biggest self-exposed "liar" in hip-hop would be BO$$. Unlike these no-names, she had a few major hits like Deeper and Recipe of a Hoe and the rest of the album was solid. I'd watch a movie about her or even Milli Vanilli before I got around to these guys.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:41 PM on April 18, 2010


Who's Dizzee Rascal? Slick Rick would be my go to answer.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:44 PM on April 18, 2010


matthewstopholes: I'm going to say that I don't buy this. I could be wrong, but I've been googling them and trying to figure this out and I just can't find anything from them pre late, late 2009. They'd have more hits if they'd really done something. I get this sense their story is a scam. Someone prove me wrong, please, because it's a great, great story.

Well, the Guardian article – the first link – was from May of 2008. It's got plenty of quotes from the guy who managed them, an old-school Brit agent/manager/showbiz type called Jonathan Shalit. The Guardian is not going to risk faking a quote from someone as big in British entertainment as him; he'd sue them up the fucking wazoo. And being that he normally spends his time hobnobbing with Judi Dench and sundry B-list TV celebs, he's likely not going to be in on a scam by two wee nyaffs from Dundee.

Also, I did a bit of digging into the D12 connection. The Guardian article mentions a meeting backstage at Brixton Academy. According to the NME, D12 announced a show there on 20 Sept 2004, which would roughly fit with the timeline here. According to this review of that show
"Fans were warmed up with DJs playing classic hits from the past right through to the present and were entertained by supporting acts such as a Californian hip-hop/rock band and a London-based female Garage MC." [emphasis mine]
As for whether they should have had more hits, it's very common for major label management types to stuff support slots with new talent who then spend the next three years falling apart in a haze of booze and coke without ever recording anything that's worth releasing, before hoofing it back to Dundee and having a nervous breakdown.
posted by Len at 7:53 PM on April 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


While the injunction to "keeping it real" as an ethic within hip hop would seem to predicate an ongoing scrutiny of bonafides, the actual vetting of one artist by another is usually nothing more than gossip, innuendo, accusations of fronting and rhymes deriding pretenders as inauthentic. MC's don't do background checks, that's a task for the media and management, whose mandate is quite the opposite of keeping it real. Throw in confirmation bias and the fact that contrivance IS the authentic tradition of rock and roll, it is not so hard to fool and be fooled. Sure it's easy to see the hoax when it's all laid out for you now, but maybe if you were there in the moment, living on hype, you would have overlooked the accents or the details of their proffered backstory and accepted the product as sold.
posted by bonefish at 9:15 PM on April 18, 2010


Brits tend to enunciate their syllables more clearly

Wo'

(The apostrophe represents a glottal stop.)
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:57 AM on April 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I remember seeing this the first time around thinking the weirdest thing is if they were so successful in the first place - how come I've never heard of them.

It always seems a Hoaxed Hoax. ie the Hoax itself was never actually true
posted by mary8nne at 5:22 AM on April 19, 2010


mary8nne, the reason is that you would've had zero exposure to them unless you were in the London hip-hop scene at the time. The guys got signed and played gigs and so on, but never released an album (due to the peculiarity of their situation). Unless you were there, how would you have heard them?
posted by Dysk at 8:05 AM on April 19, 2010


Here's a mention of them that appears to be from a July 1st, 2005 issue of the Coventry Evening Telegraph.
posted by XMLicious at 8:45 AM on April 19, 2010


think as an American I may be missing something. Do Scottish people often get looked down upon by English Brits? Is it a generally believed stereotype that Scots are unsophisticated? Honestly my only knowledge of Scots (at this point) comes from The Thick of It with Malcolm & Jamie.

It's not about what most British people think...it's that the music industry people decided they couldn't market it.
posted by Not Supplied at 11:55 AM on April 19, 2010


The end of authenticity? How is this any different than the actors that pretend to be musicians in all mainstream music? Besides, seconding P.o.B.'s comments, didn't this happen earlier?
posted by ReWayne at 2:27 PM on April 19, 2010


Eh? These guys werent miming.

RTFA
posted by the cuban at 3:16 PM on April 19, 2010


Never heard of these guys.

They probably haven't heard of you, so I guess it all evens out.
posted by mippy at 7:03 AM on April 20, 2010


What I'm getting from all this is that the Scottish accent is looked at by people from London in the way someone from NYC would look at an Alabama accent, i.e. provincial and uneducated.

I wouldn't say this is the case - we have a Scottish Prime Minister and a Scotswoman presenting the BBC#s flagship current affairs show. If it is, it's the same as a thick accent from anywhere else in the country - drawly Lancastrian, treacly Brummie, bunged-up Estuary. It's more that rap isn't really seen as something Scots can get in on.
posted by mippy at 7:05 AM on April 20, 2010


Brits tend to enunciate their syllables more clearly

You say that as a person who's never seen The Jeremy Kyle Show. I grew up in East Lancashire, quite an insular place where pronouncing things 'correctly' rather than in dialect marked one out as posh. 'See you later' becomes 'Slaaaa'a'; 'don't know' becomes 'oh'oo'. This is very class-based - the more working class, or 'chav' someone is or wants to sound, the more dialectal it gets.
posted by mippy at 7:10 AM on April 20, 2010


Both my parents assumed for years that Brits somehow just naturally sounded American when they sang. I don't know where they got this from, since even though the British Invasion bands were imitating American accents, none of them were particularly good at it and you can still tell they're actually British, particularly the Beatles. I guess a lot of American kids probably assumed that.

I think this is bang on the money. I spend a lot of time on the local music scene in the Midlands, and it's just a natural thing - virtually everyone doing even vaguely guitar-based music sings in a slight American accent. I don't think it's conscious on the part of performers either, and I've never really given it a lot of thought myself, but of course, we all grew up listening to rock and blues, and there's a particular way to sing rock and blues (bit of growl at the back of your throat, 'sexy vowels', "baby"/"alright" etc.) which is just what we do. There's no reason why that should be an American accent, other than that it always is, so we don't even realise. After all, that's how the British bands we grew up with sounded too, right?
posted by Dysk at 3:31 AM on April 21, 2010


"I'm not American / Don't call me Thurston / I like my accent" [The Yummy Fur; "British Sounds"; mp3]
posted by Len at 4:10 PM on April 21, 2010


Ive been watching The IT Crowd> lately, and I wonder if someone can identify Roy's (played by Chris O'Dowd) accent. It strikes me as being some sort of rural accent. At first we took it for Scottish, but I'm not so sure about that. I suspect it's meant to sound hickish, sort of like a US Southern or Midwest accent.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 6:13 PM on April 21, 2010


Jimmy Havok, that's not a British accent at all - it's Irish. The extent to which it's meant to sound hickish really depends on the level and type of prejudice you have against the Irish...

Unlike, say, a West Country accent, which most assuredly has connotations of hickishness.
posted by Dysk at 12:34 AM on April 22, 2010


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