Chris Rock Spoofs ‘Hey Ya!': ‘It’s Like Public Enemy — But Funny’

Parody song and video bring racial politics to Outkast's cheerful melody.

Chris Rock holds the crown.

Yes, he is considered by many to be the funniest man on the planet, but the Brooklyn native was literally holding a crown in his hands while sitting on the set of “Crackers,” his latest music video. In the clip, which was shot in his hometown about two weeks ago, Rock not only jacks the music and melody of Outkast’s “Hey Ya!,” he also re-creates the video, adding his own irreverent stamp.

The song presents a satirical observation of racism against blacks over the centuries, all sung to the happy-go-lucky melody of Andre 3000’s hit.

“It’s like a Public Enemy record — but funny,” Rock said, later clarifying to say that although the subject matter is serious, the song is a send-up. Some of the lyrics include, “You raped my grandma/ Ooh, you raped my grandma/ My grandma and great-grandma/ You kept raping them/ Aah, AH, ah, AH-aaaal!”

“There’s nothing funny about rape, but there’s something funny about it in the context of the song,” he said. “The song ’Hey Ya!’ just seems so happy, so any depressing lyric with that same melody seemed funny to me.”

Rock, wearing a wig that gave him the appearance of having a long black perm, shrugged when asked how he came up with the concept for the song. “I don’t know, the same way I come up with everything. ’You know what would sound funny? If they were saying ’Crackers’ instead of ’Hey Ya!’ I didn’t expect for this to ever get played, but the record company was like, ’That’s a single.’ So here we are.” The funnyman said he wants to premiere “Crackers” via the mixtape circuit, and thinks he’ll give the record to either DJ Kay Slay or the Green Lantern.

 
Click for photos from the “Crackers” video shoot


Rock wrote “Crackers” with Ali LeRoi and other writers from “The Chris Rock Show,” and the song was produced by hip-hop veteran Prince Paul.

Rock describes his new album — titled Never Scared, like his recent HBO special — as a “gumbo” mix containing more than songs. “It’s a bunch of stuff,” he said. “There’s a lot of stand-up [comedy]. Some of it was not on the HBO special, it was too dirty or too political or whatever. We did parodies of commercials, sketches. It’s funny.”

What was no joke was the shooting schedule for “Crackers.” Andre shot the original ’Hey Ya!’ in three days, but Rock only had one to complete his project.

“We’ll cheat,” Rock said, by way of explaining how he’d get it all done. “We’re gonna use some of [Outkast’s] footage in spots. It’s me singing, me playing drums and guitars. We’re gonna have protesters. We’re gonna have a white family.”

Rock is currently filming his next movie, “The Longest Yard” with Nelly, Adam Sandler and Burt Reynolds” (see “Nelly To Join Adam Sandler, Chris Rock In ’The Longest Yard’ “ )”. Never Scared is slated for release on August 31.