The Joel Stein Show

Slang 'Em High

Snoop Dogg and his pal Bishop Don Magic Juan teach our man J-Fizzle how to crank out ''crackalackin'' new words

Sure, writing Ulysses or Paradise Lost is impressive, but for my money being the guy who got people to say ''sucks'' is as big as it gets for a wordsmith. It also seems a much easier way to get famous. So when I decided to create a new slang word to sweep the nation, I sat down with the master -- Snoop Dogg, music's most dominant minter of new words. In fact, Snoop, who is currently on pace to overtake Shakespeare in Oxford English Dictionary references, developed the pseudo-pig-Latin habit of adding ''izzle'' to the ends of words. He also recently hatched the multipurpose ''chuuch,'' kind of a shalom for non-Jews.

Many of Snoop's words originate with his good friend, the former pimp Bishop Don Magic Juan. When I sat down with Snoop and his posse in his dressing room at Jimmy Kimmel Live a few weeks ago, the Bishop was wearing a striking suit and matching hat with a print pattern of $20, $50, and $100 bills, along with a diamond-encrusted walking stick. He was looking splendizzle.

Just that week, the Bishop had come up with ''aintitman'' as a response to ''How are you feeling?'' Proud and wanting to further elucidate the depths of Snoopology, the Bishop yelled ''chuuch'' at Snoop, who hollered back ''tabernacle,'' to which the Bishop screamed ''booty ho!'' I was kind of following along until ''booty ho.'' The Bishop explained that when Snoop yelled ''tabernacle,'' he was inviting the Bishop to share something that was weighing on his mind, which in this case was ''booty ho.'' To further demonstrate, Snoop yelled ''tabernacle,'' the Bishop responded ''preach,'' Snoop yelled ''titty one, titty two,'' and Bishop said ''titty three.'' Though I was new to this, I suspected titty three didn't work.

With the parameters defined, I offered up my first candidate for the newest slang phrase, ''figgy pudding,'' which I thought could be used to describe a winsome woman. The Bishop didn't like it. ''It ain't no word that makes the folks want to kick it with them.... The figgy don't mean with the pudding,'' he said. ''It don't relate.'' He directed me to focus on words that could mean more than one thing. I tried to explain British cuisine to him, but that went nowhere.

There was a lot said at this point that I didn't understand, but it seemed like we were all working very hard to mint a phrase. The Bishop and I were bonding, having found more in common than either of us would have thought -- until he tried to engage me in an uncomfortable debate about women. The Bishop, it turns out, takes a somewhat indelicate position on the subject of abuse, whereas I was raised in a strictly non-wife-beating household. ''You're going by the American way that men don't hit women, and that's not right,'' the former pimp asserted. I told him an ex-girlfriend once hit me during an argument, and he was appalled. ''She your rib, you ain't her rib,'' he said. We agreed to disagree.

Snoop, who had been calling me ''writer,'' decided I needed a new nickname. ''I used to have a homie named Joel I used to play soccer with,'' he said. Then he decided that I would be J-Fizzle, which I found semantically lazy. When I asked him why ''fizzle,'' he responded, ''Because I say so.''

That's when I offered shpilkes, from the Yiddish, which could mean ''filled with lust,'' as in ''That figgy pudding is giving me shpilkes. I'm going to go and Hans Blix her.'' Shpilkes didn't go over well. Snoop made me repeat it five times. ''We couldn't even understand what you're saying,'' complained the Bishop. Somehow this was unforgivable coming from me. There was a long stretch where Snoop kept pretending to help me coin new words, but they were just setups for third-grade jokes. ''What's a 'bofus,' Snoop?'' ''Bofus dese nuts.'' Snoop knows an awful lot of these.

''The best way to come up with a word is like this,'' Snoop said, pointing to a large cigar filled with marijuana. The Bishop took a hit and blew the smoke up my nose, which made my eyes tear and my nose run but didn't produce anything. I, perhaps angry, perhaps in a newly forgetful state, served up shpilkes again. Snoop suggested ''glazed'' for my current condition, a word he thought was ''crackalackin'' but I found kind of lame. Then we got up to leave and came up with ''yeastin,'' which I decided meant to leave.

I'm looking forward to the worldwide release of the hit single ''Yeastin With J-Fizzle,'' but I fear that Snoop forgot about it shortly after I left. I get the feeling that happens a lot.

Originally posted Mar 07, 2003 Published in issue #699 Mar 07, 2003 Order article reprints
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