Periscope Depth

white people – do the humpty hump, just watch me do the humpty hump

As a helpful service to our readers, I give you a list of Ten Hip Hop Songs White People Can Sing At Karaoke, No Problem:

(10) In Da Club (radio edit) – 50 Cent. To sanitize this club anthem for radio airplay, Dr. Dre surgically removed all references to “n—as” and most references to drugs. This makes for the occasional awkward stretch (50 sees Xzibit in the cut and observes a moment of silence) but no one will hear it over the tinny blare of most karaoke speakers. You can also earn some instant street cred by changing it up for the original hardcore lyrics if you know them, while still avoiding anything racist.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjIYLdalYeE&hl=en]

(9) Regulators – Warren G and Nate Dogg. This song celebrates two elements of street culture which white people have no problem appropriating – carrying unlicensed firearms and picking up women for one-night stands. Plus, it boasts that smooth Michael McDonald hook. Michael McDonald resonates with Caucasians on a genetic level, meaning this song will bring any crowd to its feet.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhWGDGHupYA]

(8.) Poison – Bell Biv Devoe. Most people don’t actually know this song as well as they think they do, as illustrated by the mumbles you hear about midway through verse two. But everyone recognizes the drum break. And everyone knows never to trust a big butt and a smile; big butts are Serious Business.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6blgjF6UkU]

(7) Hey Ya – Andre 3000. Does “Hey Ya” count as a hip hop song or a pop song, technically? Dre wrote the music himself, rather than sampling it, and he sings rather than raps. Additionally, the song studies different themes than traditional hip hop subject matter, including a rather mature questioning of whether a modern relationship can survive OH WAIT HERE COMES THE CHORUS SHAKE IT LIKE A POLAROID PIK-CHA!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvIw5ZqC1ms]

(6) Gangsta’s Paradise – Coolio. Every person in America, white, black or otherwise, started out as an angry teenager. If you spent your teenage years between 1990 and 2000, you remember Coolio asking for something to learn but “nobody’s gonna teach [him].” This song comes from the 1995 movie Dangerous Minds, though nothing else worth remembering did.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6voHeEa3ig]

(5) Mama Said Knock You Out – LL Cool J. “Don’t call it a comeback,” yells LL Cool J, coming to us from an era when most of us hadn’t even heard of him to begin with (come on – tell me with a straight face you listened to LL before “The Booming System”). This song requires good flow, excellent delivery and exceptional breath control – it’s a tiring four minutes and fifty-eight seconds.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7l250E5uM4]

(4) Shoop – Salt ‘n Pepa. Ladies, I did not forget you. We can all thank Salt ‘n Pepa for reminding us that girls can ogle just as well – and just as graphically – as guys can. Bring all your friends to the mic and get a round of applause if you know even half the words. Fellas, you can horn in on the spotlight if you know the male part. While we all frown on calling black people “n—as” during karaoke, no one minds if you talk about “sounding like a retard.” I mean, who’s gonna complain – the retards?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKaVBVikysw]

(3) The Humpty Dance – Digital Underground. The least serious song on the list. Karaoke draws its appeal from clowning around: getting up on stage and acting drunk and stupid looptid with a mic in hand. So what better song for karaoke than a song so ridiculous that its author only felt comfortable singing it in a Groucho Marx pimp costume? Speaking from experience: never point the mic out to the audience for shout-outs (i.e., “I’m the one who said …”). They never expect it.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-jVU5Lqxx0]

(2) Gin and Juice – Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre. “I know what you’re doing, Professor,” you might be saying. “You’re just listing the least offensive rap songs ever, right?” Joke’s on you, smart-ass – “Gin and Juice” is a karaoke standard. White people enjoy smoking endo and drinking gin; the song speaks to them on a comfortable level. And the unspoken subtext about the culture of violence and poverty created by the War on Drugs which makes such a hedonistic lifestyle an aspiration, rather than an occasional detour? Man, save that shit for “187.” This is a party song.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czyfws7OLCs]

(1) Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-a-Lot. I have never seen a black person sing this song live. Ever.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41APzy5kqBU]

For this week’s Friday Feedback: what’s a song that crosses gender, racial, sexual or cultural boundaries that you still feel comfortable singing?