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Skeet! Skeet! Skeet!

Dear AC,
In the popular song "Get Low" by Lil John the word "skit" is used in the chorus, what the heck is that? Someone told me they heard Lil john said when asked by a reporter that it is a black slang word and that if white people knew what it meant they wouldn't play the song, now I don't know if that statement is true or not, but the word sounds made up to me!

Sassynurse

Dear Sassynurse,

I think at this point that a lot of people, white and otherwise, do know what skit (also skeet, which is closer to the pronunciation) means. The word started to get attention in 2003 when comedian Dave Chappelle used it in a sketch about the Southern rapper on his TV show. Lil Jon is not the only person to use it, but it is certainly one of his trademarks.

The original meaning of the word is ejaculate (both the noun and the verb) but apparently, the meaning can be stretched. In Shake it Like a Salt Shaker, the Ying Yang Twins use this word for a woman’s vaginal wetness (though it is possible that they believe in female ejaculation).

Shawty crunk on the floor wide open
Skeet so much they call her Billy Ocean

As for whether radio stations would play it if the meaning were better understood by the general population, it's debatable. Stations often delete milder, but better known "bad" words and there has been more of this kind of censorship since Janet Jackson's breast popped out in last year's Super Bowl.

The Federal Communications Commission, which monitors American radio and TV, has pretty broad rules about what can and can't be said. They don't have lists of specific words that are unacceptable. Their definition of indecency is essentially that it must describe sex or bodily functions and be "patently offensive as measured by contemporary community standards for the broadcast medium." Interpreting that is the tricky part—as we’ve discussed in this column before, they will sometimes fine one personality (like Howard Stern) and not another (like Oprah) for using the same word because of differences in context and/or intention.

Of course, if they censored every "indecent" reference in pop music, there would be very little left to play. The first song I heard on the radio this morning (Hey, Ma) contained at least three explicit slang words about sexual acts, and the second was Candy Shop, in which 50 Cent tells Olivia that she can lick his lollipop. Lil Jon is probably right in a way—radio stations can play potentially offensive songs because those likeliest to be upset by such language are also those least likely to know what it means.

Your pal,

A. C. Kemp

February 10, 2005

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