Song of the Day: Pretty Fly (for a White Guy) by The Offspring

Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)” is a song by The Offspring. It is the fourth track from their fifth studio album Americana (1998) and was released as the first single from the album. It achieved significant pop and rock and alternative radio play and popularity, peaking at number 53 on the Billboard Hot 100 and at number 5 on the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks and number 3 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. The song reached the charts in over 15 countries and topped the charts in nine of these, including Australia, where it went 4x Platinum, and the United Kingdom, making it one of the most commercially successful singles released by the band.
The song appears as the seventh track on their Greatest Hits (2005).

Lyrics:

You know it’s kind of hard
Just to get along today
Our subject isn’t cool
But he fakes it anyway
He may not have a clue
And he may not have style
But everything he lacks
Well he makes up in denial

So don’t debate, a player straight
You know he really doesn’t get it anyway
He’s gonna play the field, and keep it real
For you no way, for you no way
So if you don’t rate, just overcompensate
At least you’ll know you can always go on Ricki Lake
The world needs wannabe’s
So do that brand new thing

Give it to me baby
Give it to me baby
Give it to me baby
And all the girls say I’m pretty fly (for a white guy)

He needs some cool tunes
Not just any will suffice
But they didn’t have Ice Cube
So he bought Vanilla Ice
Now cruising in his Pinto, he sees homies as he pass
But if he looks twice
They’re gonna kick his lily ass

Now he’s getting a tattoo
He’s gettin’ ink done
He asked for a ’13’, but they drew a ’31’
Friends say he’s trying too hard
And he’s not quite hip
But in his own mind
He’s the dopest trip

So don’t debate, a player straight
You know he really doesn’t get it anyway
He’s gonna play the field, and keep it real
For you no way, for you no way
So if you don’t rate, just overcompensate
At least you’ll know you can always go on Ricki Lake
The world needs wannabe’s
The world loves wannabe’s
So let’s get some more wannabe’s
And do that brand new thing

Beginning with a sample of the pseudo-German nonsense phrase “Gunter glieben glauten globen” from Def Leppard’s song “Rock of Ages,” chanted as a replacement for the traditional “1, 2, 3, 4” to start the recording, the song ridicules a “wannabe gangsta” who is immersed in hip-hop culture not because he truly loves or understands it, but because it is trendy, makes him feel tough (“friends say he’s tryin’ too hard, and he’s not quite hip/but in his own mind, he’s the – he’s the dopest trip”) and makes it seem that he can get all the girls (“and all the girls say I’m pretty fly – for a white guy”). The song openly mocks the middle-class suburban youths who listen to rap music for this reason. The female vocals are performed by Nika Futterman.

Music video

In the video, directed by McG, the “white guy” drives through town in his lowrider and tries to act cool in front of people, playing with his car’s hydraulic system and interrupting a break dance session to dance. He is then carried by girls watching it to a pool party and thrown into the pool. These scenes are cut by the band’s playing. The video ends with the “white guy” returning home and accidentally scaring his little sister, wearing a fairy costume, because of his appearance.

Noodles has stated that it was one of his favorite videos to make.

Guy Cohen cameos as the “white guy” driving by in his lowrider at the end of the “Why Don’t You Get a Job?” video.

The song was released as downloadable content for the video game Rock Band. The song was released in the first “Offspring pack” which was released on October 7, 2008 along with “Gone Away” and “Self Esteem”.

The song was released on the Guitar Hero: Van Halen spinoff tracklist on December 22, 2009.

  • The opening gibberish of the song is sampled from Def Leppard’s song Rock of Ages.
  • The song was parodied by “Weird Al” Yankovic (with Tress MacNeille) as “Pretty Fly for a Rabbi” on his 1999 album Running with Scissors.
  • Other parodies have been made, such as “Pretty Fly for a Jedi” by comedy music group The Axis of Awesome, “Pretty Fly for a Draenei” and others. They are frequently and incorrectly attributed to “Weird Al” Yankovic on file sharing networks.
  • The song is available as a marching band arrangement.

The Offspring

Also known as Manic Subsidal (1984–1986)
Origin Huntington Beach, California
Genres Punk rock
Years active 1984–present
Labels Columbia, Black Label, Nemesis, Epitaph,Nitro
Associated acts Face to Face, Saves the Day, Steady Ground, Angels & Airwaves, Moth,Social Distortion, Thirty Stones
Website http://www.offspring.com
Members Dexter Holland
Greg K.
Noodles
Pete Parada
Past members Doug Thompson
Jim Benton
James Lilja
Ron Welty
Atom Willard
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