Song of the Day: Wordy Rappinghood by Tom Tom Club (Chicks on Speed version)

Wordy Rappinghood” is a song by American new wave band Tom Tom Club. The song was the lead single from the band’s debut studio album,Tom Tom Club. It uses part of the 1971 Rolf Harris song “A Ram Sam Sam”. In the United States, the song was released as a double A-side with “Genius of Love” and topped the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.

Chicks on Speed version


What are words worth?
What are words worth? Words

Words in papers, words in books
Words on TV, words for crooks
Words of comfort, words of peace
Words to make the fighting cease
Words to tell you what to do
Words are working hard for you
Eat your words but don’t go hungry
Words have always nearly hung me

What are words worth?
What are words worth? Words

Words of nuance, words of skill
And words of romance are a thrill
Words are stupid, words are fun
Words can put you on the run

mots press?X, mots sens?X,
mots qui disent la vâÝit?mots maudits, mots mentis,
mots qui manquent le fruit d’esprit

What are words worth?
What are words worth? – words

Its a rap race, with a fast pace
Concrete words, abstract words
Crazy words and lying words
Hazy words and dying words
Words of faith and tell me straight
Rare words and swear words
Good words and bad words

What are words worth?
What are words worth? – words

Words can make you pay and pay
Four-letter words I cannot say
Panty, toilet, dirty devil
Words are trouble, words are subtle
Words of anger, words of hate
Words over here, words out there
In the air and everywhere
Words of wisdom, words of strife
Words that write the book I like
Words won’t find no right solution
To the planet earth’s pollution
Say the right word, make a million
Words are like a certain person
Who can’t say what they mean
Don’t mean what they say
With a rap rap here and a rap rap there
Here a rap, there a rap
Everywhere a rap rap

Rap it up for the common good
Let us enlist the neighbourhood
It’s okay, I’ve overstood
This is a wordy rappinghood, okay, bye.

What are words worth?
What are words worth? – words

What are words worth?
What are words worth? – words

He’ll stop … Don’t stop … Stop.


Wordy Rappinghood” was covered by German electroclash group Chicks on Speed and released as the second single from their album 99 Cents in 2003. Their version featured guest vocals by other female musicians such as Miss Kittin, Kevin Blechdom, Le Tigre, Adult.’s Nicola Kuperus, and Tom Tom Club founding member Tina Weymouth.

This cover was sampled in the song “Really Rappin’ Something” by The Kleptones from the album From Detroit to J.A. in 2005. In 2007, thePlaygroup remix of Chicks on Speed’s version appeared on the compilation album FabricLive.33 by Spank Rock.

Chris Blackwell of Island Records suggested that Tom Tom Club come to the Compass Point studios in Nassau and cut a single. And he said if he liked the single, they could do a whole album. So they recorded this song, which was never released as a single in America as Tom Tom Club were only with Island in the UK and Europe. It was released immediately as a single in Europe and it did really well. Chris Blackwell loved the single and agreed to a whole album, which they went on to record.
Tina Weymouth told Barnes and Noble: “When we did ‘Wordy Rappinghood,’ we didn’t really know what we were doing. I think a lot of people thought Chris and I were going to do something really self-indulgent, and David [Byrne] and Jerry [Harrison] were going to do something more legitimate. It’s like finding a successful mutation.”
The famous Reggae producer Lee Perry was originally lined up to produce this. However he had had a run in with Chris Blackwell, and he didn’t show up. Instead they worked with a young Jamaican engineer named Steven Stanley, who went on to have a successful career which included composing the famous beat from Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy.”
While “Genius Of Love” and “Under The Boardwalk” are Tom Tom Club’s best known songs in America, this is their most recognized one in Europe.
Common sampled this for his song “New Wave.”
Original by Tom Tom Club:

Chicks on Speed

Origin Munich, Germany
Genres Art, Fashion, Performance,Electroclash, electropop, musique concrète
Labels Chicks on Speed Records
K Records
Website Official site
Members Alex Murray-Leslie
Melissa Logan
A.L. Steiner
Kathi Glas
Anat Ben David
Faustine Komplewjski
Kroot Juurak
Past members Kiki


Tom Tom Club

Genres New wave, synthpop, dance-rock, alternative rock
Years active 1981–present
Labels Sire/Reprise/Warner Bros.,Rykodisc, Island,Fontana/PolyGram, Nacional
Associated acts Talking Heads
Members Chris Frantz
Tina Weymouth
Bruce Martin
Victoria Clamp
Pablo Martin
Past members Adrian Belew
Monte Browne
Tyrone Downie
Mark Roule
Steve Scales
Steven Stanley
Alex Weir
Mystic Bowie
Laura Weymouth
Charles Pettigrew
Wally Badarou

image by ~jotfs

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