A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with editor Angela Helm while she was beaming about an interview that she had just completed with musical genius Teddy Riley. Not content in simply letting her bask in her glory, as she explained how she asked all the right questions, I proceeded to burst her bubble:
Me: So, was it “dumb bitch” or not?
Me: I know you had to ask him whether or not Aaron Hall actually says “dumb bitch” at the beginning of Guy’s “Piece Of My Love.” It’s an urban legend. I’m sure you cleared it up.
But if I had to ask Teddy Riley one question, aside from the obvious goatee maintenance-related queries, I would ask Riley why white people love to cover the 1996 collaboration with Dr. Dre, Blackstreet and Queen Pen: “No Diggity.”
You probably haven’t noticed because you probably aren’t involved in the dynamics of white shenanigans as much as I am. But as one of the world’s leading wypipologists, I have noticed an astounding amount of covers of this song. I’m serious!
We all know that white people love to make acoustic versions of shit. White people will make an acoustic version of anything. I’m sure I could find an acoustic version of the Ying Yang Twins’ “Wait Til U See My Dick (The Whisper Song)” if I looked for it because every white musician is required to do an acoustic version of a tune that has no business being played in a coffee shop. My personal theory is that acoustic guitars aren’t usually accompanied by drums, making the rhythm easier to follow. (By the way, I looked and there is actually an acoustic version of “The Whisper Song.”)
But for some reason, white musicians have an unusual affinity to “No Diggity.”
Of course, there are acoustic versions galore. But there are also heavy metal versions. There are country/bluegrass versions. There are slowed-down white-boy hipster versions that sound earnest as fuck. There’s a wistful, white-girl ballad version. There’s a white, male acapella choir cover. There’s a version that is remixed with Bill Withers’ “Grandma’s Hands.”
And it’s not just unknown Caucasians on YouTube. There are a million Ed Sheeran versions. There’s a Backstreet Boys cover. Santa Claus even covered it. Dare I say, white people have a multitude of diggities. Their diggities are abundant. They have a diggity surplus.
But of all the covers of “No Diggity,” perhaps the one that stands out the most is the Funk/Rock Style cover by Jenn McMillan.
First of all, I was alerted to Jenn’s proud sharing of this on Facebook by writer Zack Linly. Although there are “No Diggity” covers that are far more popular, perhaps Jenn’s is the most representative of them all. In fact, I think an in-depth look at Jenn’s performance may lead to a deeper understanding of this phenomenon.
Before we begin, we must acknowledge that her name is Jenn, which is even whiter than “Jennifer.” Ain’t shit you can do if your mama names you Jennifer, but “Jenn” is a choice. I wonder how long it took her to decide whether or not she was going to use two Ns?
Then Jenn has an entire band who was willing to participate in this fuckery while showing their faces. Now some have said that white people need to chill, but my wypipology studies have shown me that white people don’t possess the “chill” gene. They are decidedly un-chill. In fact, with white people, “chilling” and “alarming” are synonyms. I didn’t find this out until one of my white friends told me that he heard some “chilling” news, and I figured he was going to tell me about a new federal holiday.
Then he told me his grandma died.
Anyway, Jenn rounded up her crew to play at a bootleg version of Stonehenge. Although I have never understood people’s fascination with Stonehenge (apparently, ancient aliens or a very advanced race figured out how to make giant rock rectangles). What does this have to do with “No Diggity?” And why does she have that fake black accent when she says “play on playa?”
All the white people say “play on, playa” when they open the song. Do they not know that this was an ad-lib? I’m sure this wasn’t on Teddy’s sheet music. White people don’t improvise well. They do all the parts. They don’t even change the names! They reference Dre, Black Street, Teddy and everybody! Jenn didn’t even change the gender of the subject of the song. Maybe she feared that people might think she was talking about “dick-ity.” (although, for the purposes of safe sex, she should want to “bag it up.”)
Does this motherfucker have backup dancers? She does! Oh my God, they practiced this shit! Ok, I count five band members, Jenn, the backup dancers and at least one cameraman, which means nine white people thought this was a good idea! I want to say I’m surprised but the antics of nine people don’t surprise me. Shit, Trump convinced at least nine white people to vote for him and his ideas are marginally worse than Jenn’s.
Also, why are they on a playground? And why is Jenn riding a hobby horse? What the fuck does a playground have to do with diggities? Diggities shouldn’t be around children or schools! In fact, I made sure all my children were educated in diggity-free school zones. First, you let white people prance around in the sandbox making “No Diggity” videos, the next thing you know: Boom! We have a teenage diggity epidemic.
OK, two-thirds of the way through the song and I can’t hear any funk... or rock... It just sounds like karaoke or a performance at a high school prom (Again, not my children’s’ prom because I keep them away from diggity-dances. I once thought I heard the sound of Das EFX coming from my daughter’s room and I burst in to reprimand her, but it turned out to be a false alarm).
Then, Jennnnnnn ends the song with an orgasmic high-pitched scream and then she—
Wait... I think I’ve figured it out!
Maybe this is a fetish thing! I’ve read about ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response). Apparently, there are people who like to masturbate to the sound of people whispering or chewing gum. Perhaps there’s a subset of people who get off to the sound of white people singing “No Diggity.”
I bet there’s already a name for the fetish and the people who like it. I wonder what they call themselves?
Besides “white people.”
Anyway, I’m glad we could have this talk. If I had to watch this, then so do you. It’s important.