True Story©... Lyrical Misappropriation


     Sometimes when I am all alone, I make up new lyrics to existing songs and repeat them until I remember them.  When the REAL song is on, I will sing my lyrics (loudly) and watch for people’s reaction.
Misappropriation is not the same thing as misquoting, which is a different (but actually innocent) fun.

     I cannot imagine either of you reading the above three sentences without wanting examples, so there is really no reason for me to continue pussyfooting with any lead-in here.


One time I’m in my car with my nephews.  I have a radio that is effectively a 6” android computer of sorts, so I have a SanDisk Cruzer in it with all my preferred music on it.  As I picked them up, I was listening to UGK.
Album: Too Hard To Swallow, track 3…  Pocket Full of Stones.
I let Bun B’s verse ride right through without issue, but when verse two started…

“Back in the days they used to run up saying Pimp C what ya know?
I tell 'em get your scones and get the fuck away from me hoe!
Cause everywhere I went it became an instant cut
Cause they knew I cut them biscuits with the maple and nuts
A fiend gon' be a fiend, you can't change they ass I guess
So them mothafuckas tweak until the coffee hit they chest
Now they won't leave me alone
Cause they know I got a whole pocket full of scones!”

Both boys laugh…  My older nephew looks at me…

Nephew: “Uncle Phillip, I don’t think he said ANY of that”
Me: “How can you be so sure?”
Nephew: “well, for one, you said pocket full of scones
Me: “people can’t rap about breakfast pastries?  What kind of short-sighted shit are they teaching you in public school?!”
Nephew: “well, your radio clearly says the name of this song is pocket full of STONES!”

No lie, I didn’t even have an answer to that.  Who the hell taught these little black boys to read?!  I kicked them the fux out of my car.


     Next, I am in a van from my part time, transporting those same nephews and 8 other kids.  Whoever had been driving the van had left it on some random-ass easy listening station and I heard the music to Cher’s Do You Believe start up.

Me: “aww sheee…” *turns up the music*
Nephew: “oh shit”
Me: “watch your damn language on this van, boy.  Be quiet and learn something!”
Other Nephew: “y’all listen to this, he is about to murder this song”
Some other kid: “murder it how--…”
Me: “Do you believe in love after prison
At night, someone inside would huff
‘I really don't think you're strong enough’
Do you believe in love after prison
I heard something inside just say
‘You better not be with no-one else,’ oh!”

Chorus of laughter from the back of the van.  The one kid in the front just kind of sat there.  One funny thing about pre- and early-teens is that they obsess and don’t move on from shit.
Applicable to the boy in the front seat, he didn’t get the joke or catch what I had done.  The rest of the kids on the van roasted him for the rest of the trip TO the church, off and on for the three hours they were IN the church, and then for most of the ride home.
Fuckers have photographic memories too, they remembered the damned lyrics and kept repeating them and all.  As the attending adult, I should have stopped them after about 39 seconds, but I enjoyed the laughs I got off of this shit more than I probably should have.



I could do this all day, as I have misappropriated a few dozen popular songs down through the years in my own ‘drunken Weird Al’ flare to varying levels of hilarity, usually to nothing more than DARING people who didn’t know what was doing to question whether I really didn’t know the words to the songs.  Once upon a time, there was not a single R&B song on Black Urban Radio that was safe from the likes of me.  There is nothing better than the look on the face of a perfect stranger who WANTS to question you over something like this but knows they shouldn't.  The couple of times I have been taken up on the challenge, I bristled and DARED them to prove me I was wrong.
My lawyer and probation officer advise me never to mention that story until the civil cases are all finished.  They may come up in the Supervillain’s Memoirs book I have been working on.
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