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Friday, July 10, 2009

Izzall Rizzight.

Someone recently used the Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip Hop Culture and it was sitting at the reference desk waiting to be reshelved. Elisabeth picked it up and started reading some tidbits at random--a brief biography of Kid ‘N Play, a full explanation of a mash-up--when she came to the entry on “Izzle.”

She read this aloud:

“Izzle as a suffix or infix added to or inserted into any existing word was popularized by Snoop Dogg. The origin of the infix (added to the middle of a word) is the 1985 U.T.F.O. song, 'Roxanne, Roxanne,' where the izz infix is used: 'The izzi is the grizzeat Kizzangizzo'" (Bynoe 183).

“Wait a minute,” I said. “What about ‘Double Dutch Bus’? There’s all kinds of iz-ing in that song and I’m pretty sure it came out before 1984.”

So to the internet we turned, and lo, I discovered that "Double Dutch Bus" by Frankie Smith came out in 1981. I then found it on YouTube. You're welcome to enjoy the entire song, but be sure and pay attention around 1:39:

That's completely in the same family as izzle. But what the heck are they saying? I found the lyrics online and after 28 long years of singing along and having no idea what I was saying, I was pleased to discover that the izzle-heavy section of the song goes like this (complete with translation!):

FRANKIE: Hilzi, gilzirls! Yilzall hilzave t' milzove ilzout the wilzay silzo the gilzuys can plilzay bilzasket-bilzall
(Hey girls! Y'all have to move out the way so the guys can play basketball)

GIRLS: I say wizzat? Nizzo-izzo wizzay!
(Say what? No way!)

FRANKIE: Yizzall bizzetter mizzove!
(Y'all better move!)

GIRLS: I say wizzat? Willze illzain't millzovin'...
(Say what? We ain't movin!)

FRANKIE: Shillzu-gillzar! ....., bilzzaby!

GIRLS: Willze illzare plizzayin' dizzouble dizzutch!
(We are playin' double dutch)

FRANKIE: Millze cillzan sillzome ....plilzay dilzzouble dilzutch!
( double dutch!)

GIRL: Hilzzoo?

FRANKIE: My gizzirl!
(My girl!)

GIRL: Brillzing her izzin!
(Bring her in!)

FRANKIE: Izzo kizzay!

GIRL: Izzall rizzight...
(All right...)

FRANKIE: Izzo kizzay!

GIRL: Izzall rizzight! Nizzow wizzee wilzzo-izzo-zee!
(All right! Now we will see!)

I don't know about you, but I'm going to sleep better tonight not only knowing that the code has been cracked, but that I've given Frankie Smith credit for the izzle phenomenon. As for the Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip Hop Culture, I will be writing a letter to the author post-haste. I can only hope that the second edition corrects this wrong.

Bynoe, Yvonne. Encyclopedia of Rap and Hip Hop Culture. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2006.

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