Variation on Popular Music in Elementary School Kids

The informant is a 23-year old Narrative Studies major at USC. He is from Laguna Niguel and attended primary and secondary school there, before attending USC.


Informant: “I used to babysit several kids from the local elementary schools by where I live. I remember several of them walking around their houses singing this variation of Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” [a popular pop song] along with variations of other popular songs like it. I mean there were other ones too, like parodies of other songs.,They were always really, like, childish—really PG. Never like Weird Al Yankovic style. So the Taio Cruz one, for example, went like, ‘I walked up to a/the subway guy/ He said Ay yo, don’t forget the mayo.’ I always thought it was really hilarious—these super popular, often inappropriate songs that the kids I babysat would hear and then spin into their own context.”



It is logical that these elementary school students take what they hear around them and integrate it into their own context. To use this specific instance, the boy my informant babysat had heard the song “Dynamite” played and by some means—whether repeating it wrong, repeating it from a friend who had changed the lyrics, changing the lyrics as a sort of game, or by some other means—changed the song to pertain to things he could relate to. This song is a parody; it takes imitates and exaggerates the original, presumably for a comic effect. I’ve been parodying songs since I was in elementary school. Last class we watched clips of parodies and mash ups that have literally influenced revolutions (“Zenga, zenga” comes to mind). The influence of folklore, that often goes overlooked by society’s understanding of the word, is baffling.