"Doctor who? Doctor Hewson!
Sit up straight when I'm talking to you, son!
The magical might from the radical right
Gonna light up the night with a scheme and a dream so bright
So sit right back while we bite back,
This is called Fightback, me and my G on the right track
And we won't stop 'till we get our way,
(Hey, ho! Hey, ho! Hey, ho! Hey, ho!)"
song performed by someone who is perceived to not be able to rap. Usually done for humorous intent. Despite the fact that white rappers are more common these days than before, contemporary portrayals will still almost always be of a white person, and usually a dorky white guy; having a Chinese or Japanese person
do it instead is becoming a common alternative. Often can become Nerdcore
. Separate from but similar to the concept of "beef," a MC term for calling out another rapper for his lack of lyrical skills.
A subtrope of Pretty Fly for a White Guy
. Often involves Totally Radical
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- Let's face it, this trope was everywhere in Totally Radical TV commercials for kids between about 1985 and 1995 (hell, it was everywhere, period, when it came to kids from 1985 to 1995). Even more absurdly, almost all of them played the trope straight. A notable exception was a popular anti-marijuana spot ("The wacky weed, it is bad..."), which implicitly admitted that parents of teenagers trying to rap was at the very least unusual.
- In an animated snack commercial, right on the heels of a bunch of students, an old lunchlady starts rapping at least as competently as the rest of them. Everyone stops and stares at her. The commercial seems to take for granted (as the kids certainly do) that for some reason, this is Not Cool.
- The Manning brothers try their hand at this in a DirecTV commercial for Football On Your Phone.
Live Action TV
- House raps near the end of the first episode of the sixth season of House.
- In season 2 of Look Around You there is a rare example of this being done by a black man. Antony Carmichael, a profiteroles chef, painfully awkwardly introduces 1980's Britain to the world of rap music.
- Flight of the Conchords invented this, along with rap as a whole.
Some people say rappers don't have feelings.
We have feelings!
Some people say we're not rappers.
It hurts our feelings when you say we're not rappers...
- Also their big new york HBO show, where they claim "Back in New Zealand, we invented rap..."
I'm the hip-hop-opotamus, my rhymes are bottomless, uh...[silence]
- Saturday Night Live:
- This was a recurring shtick for Chris Parnell, who would do hardcore raps on mundane topics during Weekend Update.
- As well as for Amy Poehler, who most famously performed a hardcore rap about Sarah Palin on Weekend Update, complete with backup dancing Eskimos, Fake Todd Palin, and a guy in a moose suit. While the real Palin bopped around next to her Update co-anchor Seth Meyers. Oh, and she was nine months pregnant at the time.
- A sketch from about a decade earlier had guest star Garth Brooks selling his soul to the Devil (Will Ferrell with horns and red face-paint) in exchange for music and lyrics to a hit song to kick-start his pop-music career. The Devil comes up with several songs, only for Brooks to tell him they all suck. Finally, in desperation, Lucifer half-heartedly launches into "I'm the Devil, and I'm here to say, I'm the most evil rapper in the U.S.A. All my homies and my bitches, they say "Hey HEY"...before finally giving up.
- Another sketch from about the same era had Ferrell impersonating Robert Goulet covering a number of rap songs in a "lounge-act" style. His version of Sisqo's "Thong Song" goes "Girl, that dress is so SCANDALOUS...and you know...another NIGGER couldn't handle it!"
- Andy Samberg's recurring character Blizzard Man is hired by assorted black artists (usually the musical guest of the episode) to rap on their albums. He comes across as genuine until he starts rapping, where he's extremely white. Everyone thinks its awful except the musical guest.
- Subverted in the Monk episode "Mr. Monk and the Rapper," as Monk tries to deliver the summation for a crowd at a tribute concert. They boo him off the stage, so Murderuss steps on the stage and raps the summation.
- This happens a lot on Whose Line Is It Anyway?, especially with Greg Proops and sometimes Tony Slattery. Then there's Colin Mochrie's shout... singing... style.
- And on at least one glorious occasion, Stephen Fry raps.
- So does Stephen Colbert.
- Go Rangers, Go Rangers, Go Go Go!
- Not played for laughs, but whenever Glee has a rap break in a song, it's the nerdiest guy in the glee club (Artie) who takes it.
- And their versions of "Gold Digger" and "Good Vibrations.
- On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart is so appalled by Fox's hypocritical bashing of rap artist Common that he decided to improvise a rap of his own about it.
Jon: It's beyond a caricature of your own cartoon. I think the only way to get it across would be through a more artful medium, a... more expressive form, perhaps a musical iteration of spoken word... Gimme a beat, yo! (Waits for beat) Drop some beats, yo! (Waits some more, finally just decides to use a metronome)
- After the commercial break, Jon promises, "I will never rap publicly again."
- He lied: after Michigan became a "right to work" state he did one in the style of 8 Mile
- Occasionally on Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?, an elderly woman MC called "Nana Rap" would show up to deliver a clue.
- On The Sing Off, judge Ben Folds was inspired to improvise a freestyle rap while remarking on one group's performance. It went about how you'd expect.
- The little seen Sketch Comedy pilot Next! included a skit with Bob Odenkirk playing a suburban father who fronts a Nu Metal band called The Breadwinnerz - their song is suspiciously similar to Limp Bizkit's "My Way", which even gets referenced by name in the skit.
- Odenkirk loves this trope. One of the more egregious examples in Mr. Show is in this sketch where Odenkirk's rap consists almost entirely of the word "rap."
- Crispin from Skins. He gets pelted with paper balls by everyone in the room afterwards, deservedly so.
- Barry Williams performed "The Real Greg Brady" (a parody of "The Real Slim Shady" by Eminem) at the Billboard Music Awards in 2000.
- Who's In The House? started off as a skit on Don't Feed The Gondolas. It later got a chart release in Ireland and peaked at number 3.
- Bob Odenkirk does this at the beginning of the Mr. Show episode "A Talking Junkie," not too long after he tells David Cross that he's "from the streets" as if it's part of his culture.
- Discussed in one episode of 30 Rock: Betty White talks about how she was in a film with Tracy Jordan about a rapping grandma. He did a great job playing the grandma.
- Sam's rap about a groin injury in Cheers. See for yourself
- Key And Peele had a sketch where they did one after Peele said they could rap and Key objected because they didn't have the street cred.
Keegan-Michael Key (as himself):What are we going to rap about, my Master's degree in Fine Arts or your prep school?
- Robin’s hit song Let's Go to the Mall has a brief rap section. Her friends find it hilarious.
- In Community, Dean Pelton intends to deliver one of these, as he dresses up in a peanut-bar costume to sing a cheesy and inoffensive rap to the teachers in apology about how their next paychecks are going to be delayed. It's subverted, however, as he gradually starts getting into it and gets angrier and more passionate, until he's eventually bellowing out a very real and very angry political rap about how Obama's education policies are failing the college. And then when he catches himself, he reacts with genuine terror and confusion about what happened and runs away crying. (Incidentally, if the reactions of some of the characters are any indication, apparently even the cast members weren't expecting that to happen.)
- MAD Magazine's "Mad Raps Up Shakespeare" ("I'm Will-the-Thrill, the Stratford ace...") from the late 1980s. Probably not the Trope Maker, but close enough.
- Bush administration advisor Karl Rove became "MC Rove" at the 2008 Radio and Television Correspondents Association dinner. Brad Sherwood does most of the heavy lifting here.
- Gothic folk group Current 93 once recorded a rap about Aleister Crowley. Seriously. The version on YouTube is pretty unlistenable, unfortunately.
- BECK has stated that "Loser" is a testament to his inability to rap.
- According to the story, he was recording in his friend Carl Stephenson's home studio, and improvised nonsensical lyrics based on looking around random objects in Stephenson's kitchen. Stephenson played the recording back to him, and he realised he was so bad he started sarcastically singing "I'm a loser, baby, so why don't you kill me". The song was finished in about six hours and was Beck forced to release it because of his label Bong Load Records. The rest is history.
- The Gourds' cover of "Gin and Juice". You know, the one that people online claim was performed by Phish or Blues Traveler.
- Grindcore bands Magrudergrind and 7000 Dying Rats released Heavier Bombing and We Want Weez-E respectively, which made for strange breaks in the midst of albums composed mainly of music that can be described as Hardcore Punk on speed and steroids.
- Madonna's rap in her 2003 single "American Life." As cringeworthy as it sounds.
- Well, not many complained about her earlier rap in "Vogue"
- Mick Jagger does this in a few Rolling Stones songs like "Too Much Blood" or "Emotional Rescue".
- Brave Saint Saturn's "The Shadow of Def". It starts off as a slow, acoustic rap song, then it gets even cheesier when the executive producer drops some guest rhymes in the bridge.
- The Edge sort of does this in "Numb".
- The White Stripes do this in "Icky Thump" (on the subject of American hypocrisy about Mexican immigration):
Who's using who?
What should we do?
Well you can't be a pimp
And a prostitute too.
- Barenaked Ladies did this in their concert at Radio City Music Hall on August 13, 2010, and possibly at other concerts during that tour. They pulled it off VERY well.
- Pinch Me is somewhat of a rap around the chorus, so this one is not completely unexpected, but still pretty surprising.
- BnL does this a LOT in concert. It's kind of a gimmick of theirs. Word of God has it that their breakout hit "One Week" was their first attempt to put it on an album, and the song was written in about 5 minutes of ad libbing.
- Liz Phair raps to an Indian-styled beat on "Bollywood". Coming from an album called Funstyle...
- A hidden track on Relient K's Two Lefts Don't Make A Right... But Three Do album features "the world's worst freestyle rapper, ever."
If apples are green and carrots are orange,
And then you go, and then you go...
What the—wait, what rhymes with 'orange?'
Aw, jeez, I really am bad...
- The last person on the planet you'd expect to be a talented rapper is perhaps "Weird Al" Yankovic, who fulfills the "White and Nerdy" stereotype in so many ways, but he's been praised for his skills.
- Steven Curtis Chapman's song Got To B Tru.
- "Blackout" by Linkin Park. Now wait, how can a band that's well-known for fusing rock and hip-hop by having a competent rapper/producer in their ranks possibly be here? Well, when it's their Bono/Scott Weiland-esque lead singer rapping, it falls under this trope.
- Heavy Metal band Clutch did a rap song called "Careful With That Mic..." that's actually pretty damn good, but certainly falls in this category.
- Anthrax were probably one of the first to do this in the mid 80s with "I'm the Man." They would later cover/duet Public Enemy and cover the Beastie Boys (along with remaking I'm The Man ('91).
- Rush did one of these on the title track of their album Roll the Bones. Surprisingly, that's still Geddy Lee singing, just modified to the point of being nigh-unrecognizable.
- Raising the pitch (drastically) using audio editing software reveals that he's basically speaking the rap, in a manner similar to a later Rush song (Double Agent, from Counterparts).
- About any time that OFWGKTA's Taco or Jasper steps up to the mic, this happens. In "Tina," Taco spends roughly 6 of his 8 bars enjoying potato chips. Very loudly.
- Saosin's "Show Me Yo Bootyhole" satirizes the overwhelmingly hypersexual nature of most mainstream rap/hip-hop.
- Afternoon Tea Time does this on "Fuwa Fuwa Time". Helps that the music background sounds close to something Nu Metal-esque:
But that's the biggest problem, ya see
'Cause then I'll need to think of a topic to speak
And it ain't gonna be natural for me
To do that in the first place, I think
- Taylor Swift herself did a rap with T-Pain.
- The Veronicas song, Popular is also this besides the fact it is a parody of Boastful Rap's too.
- Mike Read once did a 10 minute political rap at a Conservative Party Conference, much to David Mitchell's disgust
- Avril Lavigne's "Nobody's Fool" is this.
- Cracker's "What You're Missing", which is full of silly in-jokes and also gives every member of the band a verse. Word of God is it was initially inspired by funk though, specifically the group War.
- "The Bends" by Radiohead has a few seconds of Thom Yorke doing this:
I'm just lying in a bar with my drip feed on
Talking to my girlfriend
Waiting for something to happen
And I wish it was the '60s
I wish we could be happy
I wish, I wish, I wish that something would happen
- As part of a series of songs done under the guises of various fake bands, They Might Be Giants wrote the song "Too + 3 R One" in the style of a Boy Band, complete with John Linnell doing a surreal rap bridge:
Do the math, girl
And let me tell you why I never need a bath, girl
'Cause I'm covered in foam
I got my homes
I'm never lonely, there's an extra hand for my ice cream cone, yeah
I got poise like a star
There's no room in the car
And if it looks like rain
Get underneath my massive brain
- The intro to "Radio Brennt" by Die Ärzte.
ETWAS RAPDISZIPLIN WENN ICH BITTEN DARF!
- Tina Fey rapping on Childish Gambino's "Real Estate". Yeah...
- This is basically the whole point of Professor Elemental. Despite being a pretty solid rapper, he cultivates the deliberately silly image of a Victorian-period dandy, and raps about tea and crumpets.
- He decided to do a piss take album of "rap through the ages". Quite unexpectedly, his Victorian-age piss take became such a huge hit with the steampunk crowd that it spawned a whole new career, and indeed, a whole new genre of music.
- This is a frequent venture for Tally Hall. See: "Welcome to Tally Hall", the bridge of "Ruler of Everything," and their covers of Biz Markie's "Just a Friend" and Flo Rida's "Club Can't Handle Me" with Casey Shea.
- The Aquabats! feature this trope in a few of their songs, such as "Pool Party!" and "Hey Homies!"
- "Down In It" by Nine Inch Nails. Enough said.
- Froggy Fresh (formerly Krispy Kreme) of YouTube fame is basically all about this trope. Video content aside, most his humor in the songs themselves seems to revolve around bad, awkwardly written lyrics, as opposed to playing the exaggerated Pretty Fly for a White Guy angle.
I had to fight my whole life
I could beat you up, even if you had one thousand knives
Even if you had infinity knives!
I would punch you up into the air like a kite
- A band called Morris Minor and the Majors once charted with "The Stutter Rap". Four rappers named after a British car that wasn't even trendy back in the 1950's. All with stutters. It was not meant to be serious.
- Weezer dipped into this in their genre-jumping single "The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived", in which the band tried to squeeze eleven distinct styles/artist parodies into a six-minute song. How do you think it turned out?
- Say Anything's... laid back... cover of Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Got Your Money" dives straight into this.
- John Cena's first actual gimmick started this way when he rapped at a Smack Down! Halloween Party. It morphed into a full-fledged Pretty Fly for a White Guy and eventually into a semi-serious gimmick which continued during his first world title reign, releasing a full album along the way.
- Cena can rap, and has been into the music since his adolescence growing up in the 1990s (when he was mocked and attacked by other white kids in his neighborhood for liking the music). He just pretended to be this kind of rapper when he was a heel. Just listen to the better tracks on his hip-hop album You Can't See Me, where he raps with friends Marc Predka and Freddie Fox, and you might be surprised at how well their voices go together.
- About half the people who feud with or are in the same room as the aforementioned rapper Cena or with current rapper R-Truth end up pulling this. Expect some form of "rap isn't hard, I can do that" followed by a "freestyle" verse. Notable examples include Brian "Spanky" Kendrick, Big Show and Christian for Cena as well as Ted DiBiase, Jr. and William Regal for R-Truth.
- The Road Warriors Rap.
- For the American Wrestling Association's 1986 Supercard "WrestleRock 86" they released the WrestleRock Rumble rap. Jim Cornette said it may have been the worst thing he'd ever seen.
- The DK Rap, from Donkey Kong 64.
- And it's back again, and about time too, in Super Smash Bros. Melee, sounding less like a rap song.
- Kabbage Boy has this, though on purpose.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has OG Loc, who actually manages to have a rap career despite being a horrible rapper.
- Rhythm Heaven Fever has the Love Rap, which consists entirely of the rappers using various alterations on the phrase "Into you!" (and "Fo sho'!"). It's pretty bad, but it's made clear that this is deliberate.
- Sam & Max do this in episode 203, "Night of the Raving Dead". They have to beat the villain Jurgen in a contest. They win mostly not by being particularly cool but making their opponent particularly uncool.
- The "Rap Battle" segment in Tomodachi Life. Both competitor Miis accurately call out the other Mii's abilities.
- LittleKuriboh announced his return to Youtube with "Without Yugi". Several other abridgers responded in kind.
- Nicepeter's Epic Rap Battles of History on Youtube.
- The Lonely Island's "Shy Ronnie" songs (who, as the name hints at, is shy) and songs performed by "Just Two Guys", who are bored to death.
- Game Grumps: "1-2-3, 1-2-3, 1-2-3, I gotta pee."
- Cracked's Michael Swaim does an intentionally bad rap in his "Rap About Rape" episode of Does Not Compute, which is surprising when there's a video of him doing an actually decent rap.
- Kyle "Oancitizen" Kallgren finishes off his Brows Held High review of Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai with a rap number. Rap Critic admits it was actually pretty good.
- This dude.
- Seth Green in this parody video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eJmYKN_1QE (slightly NSFW)
- "The Dag Rap" from Three Men And A Baby Grand.
- Neil Patrick Harris had a brief rap in his song for Commentary! The Musical. He quickly decides, "No, I can't rap. That was... painful."
- RiffTrax has the 'Fast and Furious Rap', surprisingly well matched with the background music as Vin Diesel wanders through a nightclub.
- Kevin Hart talks about how he can't rap because of his high pitched voice, in one of his comedy specials:
Kevin:(high pitched voice) "Yeah, bitch, I'm a killer, I shoot you in your face. (makes finger guns) Pshoom, Pshoom, Everybody gon' die. Pshoom pshoom, everybody gon' die tonight." Did he just say "Pshoom, pshoom"? I'm not buying that shit if he said "pshoom, pshoom".
- Also his character Chocolate Drop(Droppa)
- Tea Party Rappers Obliterate Rap Forever, notice Unfortunate Implications too!
- When he hosted the 2014 Tonys, Hugh Jackman (along with LL Cool J and others) tried to rap Rock Island, the opening number from The Music Man. It was exactly as bad as it sounds.