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Nice Ride!
Warning: contains one offensive word.
Dear AC:
 
Chrysler has a commercial with Snoop Dogg (I think) and Lee Iacocca golfing.  Trouble is that I either don't understand all the words or don't understand all the slang meanings.  Actually I think it is a bad commercial since the words are unclear.

How about some help with the phrases - similar to your discussions of rap lyrics?  I think your readers will be interested.

Iacocca's time has passed.  This is not a good commercial since it does not show cars. Thanks.  I've written to you before.

 
Sincerely,
 
Donald 

Dear Donald,

Thanks for writing again! I think your criticisms of the ad point out some possible shortcomings of Chrysler's marketing plan. It appears that they are hoping to appeal to seniors by using Iacocca, their 80-year-old former chairman, and to younger car buyers by using Snoop Dogg. I don't know how old you are, but I suspect that most viewers over the age of 30 will have a little trouble with the rapper's unusual lexicon. (For those who haven't seen it, you can watch the ad here. The complete translation is below.)

Although it may be hard to understand, Snoop Dogg's speech is highly recognizable. Just this week, he filed suit against a Pennsylvania car dealer who used his trademark expressions in a television ad without his permission.

Part of his style is slang, but part is based on kids' playground language. In my mother's generation, children used Pig Latin for secret messages and in mine, we used Ubbi-Dubbi. In 1981, when Snoop was nine years old, Frankie Smith gave language a similar treatment in the song Double Dutch Bus and other rappers have embraced this kind of silly invented language as well.

In the version popularized by Snoop Dogg, "izzle" replaces part of the word. The most famous "izzle" expression is for shizzle, my nizzle. This is a variation on for sure, my nigger, which can be translated as "certainly, friend." But although nigger is often used by rappers neutrally to mean another black man, it is more often used as a highly derogatory word for African Americans. Using nizzle instead softens the phrase, which is not intended to offend. Snoop has since replaced that word with the even less offensive nephew, which appears in this ad.

Below is the complete text, with translation.

ORIGINAL

TRANSLATION
Lee Iacocca (admiring Snoop Dogg’s car): Nice ride! Lee Iacocca: Nice car!

Snoop Dogg: Thank you, Moca-coca. Chrysler and Jeep came up on bookoo* awards. And Dodge Trucks last as long as the D-O-Double Jizzle**. Plus, I’ve got the hookup, nephew. For sure.

Snoop Dogg: Thank you, Mr. Iacocca. Chrysler and Jeep have gotten a lot of awards. And Dodge Trucks last as long as my success has. Plus, I have special connections to get a good deal, friend. Certainly.

Lee Iacocca: You know, I’m not too sure of what you just said. Now everybody gets a great deal.

Lee Iacocca: You know, I’m not too sure of what you just said. Now everybody gets a great deal.
Snoop Dogg: For shizzle, I-ka-zizzle. Snoop Dogg: That's certain, Iacocca.
Snoop Dogg: If the ride is more fly, then you must buy!*** Snoop Dogg: If the car is more fashionable, then you must buy it!

Lee Iacocca: That's what I hear.

* from beaucoup, French for "a lot"

** D-O-Double Jizzle = D-O-G-G

***A reference to Iacocca's own slogan ("If you can find a better car, buy it." ) but using the rhythm of Johnny Cochran's famous 1995 O.J. Simpson trial couplet about the bloody glove in evidence ("If it doesn't fit, you must acquit!")

Lee Iacocca: I've heard that.

Hope that helps!

Your pal,

A. C. Kemp

September 1, 2005

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