When one of the dirtiest popular songs ever is played on the radio, how much has to be edited out?
There were five songs on Snoop Dogg[y Dogg]’s 1993 debut album, Doggystyle that were released as singles and/or made the Billboard charts: Who Am I? (What’s My Name?), Gin and Juice, Doggy Dogg World, Lodi Dodi and Murder Was the Case. More than two decades later, Gin and Juice is probably still the most famous track off the album, but a close runner-up is a song that isn’t on the above list but developed a massive cult following: Ain’t No Fun (If the Homies Can’t Have None).
For those unfamiliar, it’s a song that features Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, Warren G and Kurupt (in his career highlight) rapping about having sex with random women and… well, pretty much nothing else. But they’re just so unabashedly gleeful about it, and so comically over-the-top, no one (man or woman) seems to mind the misogyny too much and everyone got on board to revel in it with them.
Now, the dilemma.
Here in Los Angeles, there’s a legendary radio station called KDAY that plays old school hip-hop. (And it’s teflon. It went off the air in 1991 but was resurrected in 2004. Then, three years ago, it was bought out to become a Chinese language station, but that deal fell through at the last second.)
KDAY is adamant about heavily representing the golden age of West Coast rap. Doggystyle is part of that era, and with Ain’t No Fun‘s popularity, it just needs to be on the radio.
But it can’t be on the radio. Because it’s gratuitously, absurdly filthy. It’s one of the dirtiest songs ever to achieve such a high level of popularity, outside of David Banner’s Play and Sesame Street’s Dirt Dirt Dirt.
So KDAY got themselves the clean “radio edit” version. But Snoop and the crew never recorded cleaned up lyrics for a radio version (the song was never supposed to get this popular). So instead of alternate lyrics (“Get on stage and then start juggling these lovely tennis balls in your hands.”) or beeps/scratches/etc., whenever one of the lyrics is FCC-unfriendly, the vocals completely cut out and the beat just rides.
And that happens A LOT. Especially since the editor went as over-the-top on editing as Snoop and the guys went over-the-top on profanity, and cut out pretty much anything that might even remotely be objectionable.
Every time Ain’t No Fun comes on when I’m listening to KDAY (and since neither of those things happens daily or even weekly, it’s a rare confluence), I try to keep a tally of the edits. But that’s tough in the car and inevitably falls apart. And I couldn’t find the same radio edit version anywhere online.
But a few weeks ago, I finally recorded the radio edit on my phone — not a sweet dual cassette boombox, lamentably — and went through it lyric-by-lyric to calculate just how many lines make it through completely unedited; not one single word removed. (A line is defined as either the first or last part of a rhyming couplet. Yes, I broke Ain’t No Fun into couplets.)
Of the 50 lines (not including the chorus, or DJ Eazy Dick’s intro for W-Balls that semi-ironically doesn’t make it into the radio version), the answer is… 13:
- I had respect for ya lady, but now I take it all back.
- ‘Cause I have never met a girl.
- That I love in the whole wide world.
- And then I’m through with it.
- There’s nothing else to do with it.
- Approach it with a different proposition.
- What you gon do? You really don’t know.
- Now as the sun rotates and my game grows bigger.
- Named Snoop Doggy, I’m all the above.
- ‘Cause you know I don’t love ’em.
- Hey, now ya know.
- Three to get ready, and four to hit the switches.
- In my Chevy, six-fo’ red to be exact.
There are also six lines that probably should’ve made it through unscathed but were victims of the “when in doubt, cut it” radio edit policy:
- Leave your number on the
cabinet, and I promise baby, I’ll give ya a call.
- Next time I’m feelin kinda
horny, you can come on over, and I’ll break you off.
- Do we look like BBD, you
- Pass it to the homie, now you
- But see, it ain’t no fun, if my homies can’t get a
taste of it. Inhale, exhalewith my flow.
So now, basic math.
With 13 out of 50 lines uncensored, it means only a quarter (26 percent) of the lines in the song make it through unscathed.
And by rapper:
Nate Dogg: Eight lines, three uncensored (37.5 percent unscathed). That makes the opening verse the cleanest verse.
Kurupt: 18 lines, three uncensored (16.7 percent unscathed). This style lends itself to lots of rhymes, and also produced the dirtiest verse.
Snoop: 14 lines, four uncensored (28.6 percent unscathed). Snoop’s verse was closest to the mean filthiness.
Warren G: 10 lines, three uncensored (30 percent unscathed). His verse sometimes even gets cut in the radio version.
Hey, now ya know.