comedian charlie murphy passed away last week. murphy was the creative force behind the true hollywood stories on chapelle’s show, the video below is a story about prince who passed away around this time last year.
charlie murphy in his true hollywood story about prince
as background to the story, murphy explains
it was ’85 when all that androgynous shit was going on.
androgynous means gender ambiguous. shit in this context means stuff, activity.
when purple rain came out in the 80s, prince was the shit.
at :37 in the video, he provides more detail about 1985 and uses another shit expression
that’s when purple rain came out and prince was the shit, know what i’m sayin.
purple rain was prince’s most popular album. it was the soundtrack to the eponymous semi-biographical movie. come out means release. the shit is really cool, excellent. know what i’m saying, as well as know what i mean, are commonly used in storytelling to verify that listeners are following the story.
charlie is a hilarious storyteller, but his style can be hard to follow for english learners. for example, when he is explaining who musician micki free is, at 1:10 he says
i heard mad cats like, “yo, shalamar got a new girl in there, man. that bitch fine like a mother fucker.”
mad means many, a lot of in this usage. cats is a cool way to say guys, men. like can be used to introduce dialogue, especially when telling a story. bitch in this story means woman, but it is often considered offensive, especially in formal situations. like a mother fucker is for emphasis. the complete idea is that because of the androgyny in the way micki free dressed when he joined the band shalamar in 1984, a significant portion of the public thought he was a sexy woman.
micki free (left) with shalamar during androgynous 80s
comedian/hollywood actor eddie murphy is charlie’s brother. prince invites eddie and his crew (people, entourage) to his house to listen to music. at 1:48, charlie refers to the music that prince was playing:
the tracks was slammin, know what i mean? listening to the music and everything at the crib. grooving . he had girls over there. he had a nice environment. it was tight.
slammin and tight mean really cool. crib can mean a baby’s bed, but in this story, it means prince’s house. grooving means feeling the music.
where a baby sleeps is also known as a crib.
after prince challenges charlie and his friends to a basketball game, at 2:40 murphy is surprised to see how prince’s team is dressed when they are ready to start playing.
they still got the same shit on they be wearin at the club
they still got is a reduction of the have got structure. they’ve still got is a contraction of they have still got which is the same as they still have. shit in this situation means clothes. wear (NOT use) is the correct verb to talk about the clothes people have on. be wearing is an informal structure that is representative of murphy’s storytelling style. were wearing is more grammatically accepted.
prince and the blouses beat charlie murphy and the shirts.
at 2:55, again referencing the clothes prince and his band the revolution had on charlie said they should call the game the shirts against the blouses. this is a variation on shirts and skins, a common way to distinguish between teams in a pick-up game (informal, recreational). the skins take off thier shirts; the skins leave them on. a blouse is a girl’s shirt, another reference to androgynous 80s fashion. the joke is used again at 4:40 when prince (played by dave chapelle) declares victory for the blouses.
shirts & skins in a pick-up game
at 3:20, charlie says that night he learned to never judge a book by the cover, a standard saying that indicates prince was a good basketball player despite his appearance; and at 3:30 he talks specifically about prince’s basketball moves: he crossin cats like iverson. crossin is short for the crossover move, a misdirection dribble play that hall of famer allen iverson was famous for. in this video, a young allen iverson crosses michael jordan.
at 4:15, charlie asks for a towel because he’s hot. prince answers
why don’t u purify yourself in the waters of lake minnetonka?
which is a reference to this famous scene from purple rain.
was there any other confusing vocabulary in this video? ask a question under leave a reply