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Song Parodies -> "‘Honky’ Rap"

Original Song Title:

"Honky Cat"

Original Performer:

Elton John

Parody Song Title:

"‘Honky’ Rap"

Parody Written by:

John A. Barry

The Lyrics

Gotta look back past just what the term means
To etymology; several theories deemed:
One’s the notion tracing it to 20s guys
Drivin’ in the black districts, whites looking for good times,

To get girls black, honk would cats—
Gettin’ out of the car—not good.
They would make their lays come to them—no way
They would knock on doors in those neighborhoods[1]

From whence came that bad “honky” rap?
No one knows for sure—that’s where it’s at.
One notion is that it comes from earlier times
Derived from where folks drank whiskey, 1875

In then-Western cities, such as New Orleans.[2]
There’s absolutely no doubt about what it means.
Who claims to know for sure, well. . .ain’t got a real rule.
There’s another notion that’s rather old school,

Which traces the rap “honky” back
To immigrant neighborhoods
Of East Europe ways, less earlier days.[3]
Could that be the origin? Yeah, it could.

From whence came that bad “honky” rap?
Immigrants in cities may be where it’s at,
Or white guys tryin’ to troll for whores. . .have a good time,
Or places where they drank whiskey, not fine bottles of wine.

Now, some people enjoy theory that on farms
Called plantations, with no joy and causing people harms[4]
Is where it comes from. Maybe that is so,
But once again—no one really knows.

From whence came the rap “honky”? That
Is the way it is; one’s as good
As another—hey, there’s more: yeah, they say
That it is used in disparate neighborhoods.[5]

When it comes to that “honky” rap,
Notions abound like spring streams of maple sap.
So your notion may be just as good as mine:
“Certainty” RE: the term’s risky—that is the bottom line.


[1]A frequently dubious source of information, Urban Dictionary in this instance has a pretty good summary of speculations: There are three main theories for the origin of the word: 1. It originated from the practice of white males wishing to hire African-American prostitutes in the 1920's, and going to the appropriate part of town while honking their car horns to attract the whores. Some versions state that the reason for this was that the white men were too afraid to actually stop in those neighborhoods, so the honking would bring the hookers to them. Others say that since few African-Americans could afford cars back in that time, the honking signaled a higher-paying white client and would quickly gain the prostitutes attention. From Wikipedia: Another documented theory and possible explanation for the origins of the word is that it was a nickname African-American people gave white men (called "johns" or "curb crawlers") who would honk their car horns for prostitutes to come outside in urban areas such as Harlem and red-light districts in the early 1910s.
[2] Urban Dictionary 2: The term comes from the word "honky-tonk", which was used as early as 1875 in reference to wild saloons in the Old West. Patrons of such disreputable establishments were referred to as "honkies", not intended as a racial slur but still a disparaging term.
[3] UD 3: “Honkie” is a variation of "hunky" and "bohunk", derogatory terms for Hungarian, Bohemian, and Polish immigrant factory workers and hard laborers in the early 1900's. African-Americans began to use the word in reference to all whites regardless of specific nation of origin. From Wikipedia: Honky may be a variant of hunky, which was a variant of Bohunk, a slur for Bohemian-Hungarian immigrants in the early 1900s (source: Oxford English Dictionary). From Cecil Adams, in The Straight Dope: Honky comes from bohunk and hunky, derogatory terms for Bohemian, Hungarian, and Polish immigrants that came into use around the turn of the century. According to Robert Hendrickson, author of the Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins, black workers in Chicago meat-packing plants picked up the term from white workers and began applying it indiscriminately to all Caucasians. Probably thought they all looked alike. From the Online Etymology Dictionary: Honky, also honkey, derogatory slang word for "white person," by 1967, black slang, of unknown origin, perhaps from late 19c. hunky "East-Central European immigrant," a colloquial shortening of Hungarian. Honky in the sense of "factory hand" is attested from 1946.
[4] Honky may also derive from the term "xonq nopp" which, in the West African language Wolof means, literally, "red-eared person" or "white person". The term may have originated with Wolof-speaking slaves brought to the US (African Roots/American Cultures, Sheila Walker).—Wikipedia. Again, from Cecil Adams, citing Tom Kochman, professor of communication, University of Illinois at Chicago: Another probable etymon for honky, cited by David Dalby in his "African Element in American English" (to be found in my Rappin' and Stylin' Out: Communication in Urban Black America) is the Wolof term honq, "red, pink," a term frequently used in to describe white men in African languages.
[5]In Singapore, the term is used in a casual nature to refer to people originating from Hong Kong. Honky is also a familiar short form for "honcarenko" (pronounced "honk-a-ren-ko") which is the Slavic word for "Ukrainian.”—Wikipedia

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Pacing: 5.0
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Total Votes: 4

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Rob Arndt - January 20, 2012 - Report this comment
Per Jackson 5 parody, "J-A-B, just as easy as 5 times three"-555! Having known relatives in the South, I always heard it was the '20s car horn b/c no way a white dude was gonna get out in a black region for a Ho! OK is also controversial with etymology but I always go for the African Mende language meaning modern "everything is right, fine, etc..."
Dave W. - January 22, 2012 - Report this comment
John - I dug your "Honky' Rap".....Bottom line - HI-FIVES....

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