Interpreting and Rapping?

One of my husband’s friends works in a recording studio. This recording studio is run and owned by a rapper called Big Boi. He is one half of the grammy-award winning Outkast duo. Their most famous songs are “Hey ya” and “Sorry, Ms. Jackson”. Well, Big Boi was recording his new album and wanted to have French vocals on one of the songs. So my hubby’s friend thought of me! I went into the studio pretty nervous since I had no idea what to  say, or what was expected of me. The song’s title is “Objectum sexuality” which is a rare sexual condition in which the object of affection is an object. So when we were brainstorming we wanted to go with this theme. After a while of brainstorming we decided on some lyrics, that I translated for them. After what seemed like 50 takes, we all agreed on the one that should be used. Later on Big Boi came in, and listened to my vocals. I watched his face as he listened and knew that he was happy as I saw him smile as he was listening to my part. We played with the ideas of “Objectum sexuality” and art and decided to blend them together. We came up with this: “the women of France painted to portrait of the one who in the US  is called ‘daddy fat sacks’ (the guy with a lot of money), and demand that this portrait be hung in its place in the Louvre”. Final version in French: “Les françaises ont peint le portrait de celui qu’on appelle aux Etats-Unis, le mec au portefeuille rempli, et nous réclamons qu’il soit mis à sa place au Louvre”. This was a challenging task for several reasons: -first of all, no one in the studio understood what I was saying and although I had their help to brainstorm in english, I was all on my own for the french part. -I am an interpreter and even though interpreting does involve a certain amount of acting and rhythm this was a whole new ballgame. I’m not a musician, or a lyricist yet I had to make sure that my vocals fit in a very specific time frame and simultaneously I also wanted to make sure that flowed well (this is a rap album after all, lol). For this reason I added in a rime  (“Etats-Unis” et “rempli”) and I tried to break up the last portion of the text (mis…à sa..place au…Louvre). Finally, I drawled out “Louvre” a little bit. Here is the end result at 1″18mn. Hope you like it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbHrszq0Ymk

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6 thoughts on “Interpreting and Rapping?

  1. That’s sooo cool Jen! 🙂 That’s exactly the type of thing that I would be so excited about, but then back out because I’m not a songwriter, don’t have experience, blah blah blah. But when it came down to it you were knowledgeable and smart enough to tackle the job. And you were brave enough to say yes and give it a try! I love that you are always willing to say yes, even if you feel nervous or inexperienced, and you always come through successfully! Well done, we have the album so I’m going to go listen to those French lyrics now! 🙂

    • Thanks so much for the support Katherine! I was definitely nervous and scared at the time (I’m really not as brave as I may seem), but now am very happy that I accepted this once in a lifetime experience! My philosophy is that a little fear and nervousness never killed anyone, if anything it adds a little spice. 🙂 In retrospect, it’s when I have stepped out of my comfort zone that interesting things ended up happening. Thanks again for positivity and the comment. Hope you like the song!

  2. Incredible! For three years I’ve been wondering about this line (I’m French) and googling it I find the woman who wrote/said it! You are more of a poet than you think (I’m also a writer/poet, so I can tell I guess): this line is so rich of metaphysical subtext, so intriguing and so hypnotising! You did an amazing job on an amazing track!

    • Hi there,
      What a wonderful surprise to read this message this morning.
      Thank you so much for your kind words! I really appreciate the fact that you took the time to write such a thoughtful message. It means a lot to me especially since I was very nervous at the time: I wasn’t sure that people would “get” the lyrics.
      So, it’s an incredible feeling to hear that someone out there not only paid attention, but also enjoyed it.
      Anyway, thanks again so much for reaching out.
      Take good care.
      🙂
      A plus!
      -Jen

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