Good morning everybody, welcome back to celebrity insider, I’m Jasmine Ross and today we are joined with the American rapper, singer and songwriter Kanye West. Today we will deepen our understanding of his record-breaking song ‘Gold Digger’ by breaking it down and familiarizing with the use of language and its influence.
Jasmine: Good morning Kanye, how are you doing today?
Kanye: I’m doing good, thank you for having me!
Jasmin: No thank you for coming, we are honored to have you here. So, your fastest-selling digital download song of all time ‘Gold Digger’ has a specific meaning or purpose, tell us about it.
Kanye: The song is about a woman who wants a man only for his money. You could say that she is an unlikable character who uses betrayal and cheats to get her way, but then she leaves when times get tough and takes with her whatever she can. So fellas stay aware!
Jasmine: True! Now as I mentioned ‘Gold Digger’ is the fastest-selling digital download song of all time, selling over 80,000 and breaking the record for the most digital downloads in a week, so what other titles and accomplishments has it received?
Kanye: Well it peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was the second-longest running number one on it too, it was also nominated for Record of the Year and won the award for Best Rap Solo Performance at the 2006 Grammy Awards. In January 2011, my song sold over 3,000,000 copies in the United States.
Jasmine: That’s amazing! Great song by the way! So I heard ‘Gold Digger’ wasn’t labeled in the “novelty” genre, why is that?
Kanye: The song is just like an example of a funny song but in a semi-serious situation, like Elvis Presley’s ‘Hound Dog’ or the Beatles ‘I Am The Walrus’.
Jasmine: Aha, that clears things up. Now I want to ask you about your lyrics, the song is written with what would be called African American English, so I want you to explain some of the slang starting off with “she’s a triflin’ friend indeed, Oh, she’s a gold digger way over town That digs on me”
Kanye: Im’a explain it by removing the slang, aight so it goes like: “she’s really a lazy friend Oh, she’s a woman who only cares about a man for his money, and she likes me”.
Jasmine: What about “Now I ain’t sayin’ she a gold digger, but she ain’t messin’ wit’ no broke ni**as”.
Kanye: It would be: “Now I am not saying she’s a woman who only cares about a man for his money, but she won’t spend any time with a black man who doesn’t have money”.
Jasmine: We are getting tones of tweets asking what these lyrics mean “She was s’pose to buy ya shorty TYCO with ya money, she went to the doctor got lipo wit’ ya money”
Kanye: Much love twitter, it means: “She was supposed to buy your child toy cars with your money, but instead, she went to the doctor and got liposuction with your money”
Jasmine: So it is technically just shortening the word like (s’pose is supposed, ya is your, lipo is liposuction and wit’ ya is with your).
Kanye: Exactly, it just got an accent to it.
Jasmine: What I love about the song other than the meaning is that the language used, African American English, like you just mentioned, has its own unique accent, and also grammar and vocabulary features.
Kanye: Yah, what I cherish about it is that there is a considerable variety of African American English, it reflects the social backgrounds and personal aspirations, it highlights the African roots of African American speech.
Jasmine: I heard that many black preachers and comedians and singers, especially rapper use it, why would that be so?
Kanye: I think cuz it can really give the song or whatever a dramatic or realistic effect.
Jasmine: Now that you said that, I can see where it effects it, amazing! Kanye twitter is going wild right now, they are all asking for your view of African American English and its origin and I’ll be asking you their other questions throughout.
Kanye: Alright, starting off, the English that is used by a majority of US citizens of a Black African background, consists of a range of socially satisfied urban or rural dialects.
Jasmine: Kanye, someone asks “why are the most non-standard varieties of African American English used by the poor blacks?”
Kanye: It could be because of their limited education and their restricted social contact beyond their native communities.
Jasmine: annie227 asks: “in your opinion, when did African American English start?”
Kanye: umm, I think that it was born of slavery, then it followed the black migration from like southern states to racially isolated ghetto places throughout the US. And to this day I estimate that about 80% of black Americans speak this dialect.
Jasmine: Black American English is a dialect?
Kanye: African American English is one of the most misunderstood dialects of English, yes, it is a dialect but most people fail to recognize this fact.
Jasmine: Many tweets are saying that they regard African American English as a sign of limited education or sophistication and as a legacy of slavery, what is your say on that?
Kanye: Over the years African American English has been termed various things like “slang” too weird things like “mumbo jumbo” or simply “bad English”. A major reason why such stigma exists against it is because of a lack of knowledge among the general population about the language and its usage and not in us, black Americans.
Jasmine: So overall why did you use African American English in your song ‘Gold Digger’?