A Brief History of "Weird Al" and Rhyme

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Volcano Records
"Weird Al" the G.O.A.T.
This week sees the release of Mandatory Fun, the 14th studio album from the high priest of parody "Weird Al" Yankovic. Yankovic's uncanny ability to mimic and mock the stylings of his targets are always impressive, especially his endeavors into the world of hip-hop. While "Amish Paradise" and "White and Nerdy" are two of his biggest hits, Al's hip-hop history runs deep. Here's our complete history of "Weird Al's" hip-hop endeavors.

See also: The 10 Best Male Rappers of All Time


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Oddsmaking: Will Louis C.K. Or Lonely Island Overtake "Weird Al" And Win Best Comedy Album?

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Throughout the award's history, Grammy voters have tended to bestow Best Comedy Album upon trusted favorites: Bill Cosby closed out the 1960s with six straight victories; Richard Pryor took home three trophies in the '70s and two more in the '80s; and Peter Schickele opened the '90s with four consecutive wins of his own. Lately, Chris Rock, George Carlin, and the Daily Show/Colbert Report nexus of talent have dominated the category, with Flight of the Conchords providing the only surprise. This year, however, the award is pretty much up for grabs. Full rundown below.

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Oddsmaking: Will Thom Yorke Dance Away With The Short-Form Music Video Grammy?

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Unlike MTV's Video Music Awards, which usually reward some combination of pop excellence, symbolic audacity, and likelihood of being controversial, the Grammys' short-form music video category is a lot like the Oscars. They don't always pick the best videos—this year's list omits such highlights as Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass," Ke$ha's "Blow," the Beastie Boys' "Make Some Noise," and Beyoncé's "Girls (Who Run the World)"—but they do a good job of capturing the middlebrow zeitgeist, recognizing those videos that manage to combine critical respectability with popular appeal. Looking through their past winners, they generally pick the right one from the bunch ("Opposites Attract" in 1991, "Losing My Religion" in 1992, "Digging in the Dirt" in 1993). Their blind spot is the same one in every other category: older artists. That's why "Free as a Bird" beat "Tonight, Tonight" in 1997, and Johnny Cash's "God's Gonna Cut You Down" won over Feist's "1234" in 2008. With no dead artists eligible this year, will the righteous (Adele) triumph? Or will Grammy voters give in to their lazier impulses and just pick OK Go?

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20 Questions Brought Up By The Grammy Nominations

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The Album of the Year nominees, as presented by Katy Perry.
Last night's Grammy nominations show was full of pomp, eyeliner, and people on Twitter becoming very confused. Here's the complete list of nominees; below, 20 questions that we're still wrestling with some 14 hours after the broadcast signed off.

1. "Super Bass": Robbed or totally robbed?

2. Now that Rihanna is officially an Album Artist thanks to her Album of the Year nod for Loud, are critics going to rush to reevaluate Talk That Talk before they file their Best Of '11 lists?

3. A song from freakin' Family Guy gets a nod in the Best Song Written For Visual Media category but the Lonely Island's "Jack Sparrow" doesn't? Come on.

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"Weird Al" Yankovic To Class Up The Beacon Theater In October


What better way to cap off MTV's 30th anniversary than with an announcement about master pop parodist "Weird Al" Yankovic, whose AL TV blocks encouraged me to stare wall-eyed at various TVs owned by my family members for very long blocks of time, and also to believe in flying hamsters. He's playing a show on October 23 at the Beacon Theater; tickets go on sale this Friday. Above, please enjoy Al's inaugural appearance on Just Say Julie, the MTV staple hosted by Miss Julie Brown that really needs to get its own revival with Beavis and Butt-Head et al; below, the opener to the first AL TV, complete with callout for the AL TV Lost Weekend Contest, which is something that I would totally enter. The common thread in both clips? Sandwiches!


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Never Let It Be Said That "Weird Al" Yankovic Doesn't Take Pop Music Seriously

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It's been apparent since his earliest days that "Weird Al" Yankovic is willing to go the extra miles to properly pay tribute to the pop artists he's parodying, from the pounds and pounds of extra weight he put on in the "Bad" homage "Fat" to the way he risked choking on a marble while trying to recreate Kurt Cobain's strangled delivery in "Smells Like Nirvana." But—and this is probably extremely appropriate, given who he's parodying here—his clip for the Lady Gaga take-off "Perform This Way" goes the extra mile and then some, with meticulous recreations of some of Gaga's most famous paparazzi-chronicled getups as well as a few ideas for future costumes of hers. (Popdust has helpfully chronicled each of the specific outfits parodied by Al, running down when they appear and what they're referencing.) My reaction to the clip was a combination of slack-jawed amazement-slash-wonder at just how those costumes were designed and squirminess at how utterly skimpy some of them were. Mission accomplished? Clip after the jump.


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UPDATED: "Weird Al" Yankovic's Lady Gaga Parody Gets The Mother Monster's Blessing

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Never let it be said that "Weird Al" Yankovic blinks. This morning, he released his Gaga-ribbing track "Perform This Way" for free online and let the Internet know that he was doing so because he'd been turned down by Mother Monster's camp when he asked to put it on his forthcoming album. Cue the outrage from Yankovic's wider-than-you-think fanbase, cue Gaga claiming to have never heard the thing, and now cue Gaga giving the parody--in which she is ribbed for wearing meat and maybe not being as much of a freak as she likes to think she is--her blessing, according to Al himself (via NPR Music honcho Stephen Thompson). Well, now that's over! And hey, new "Weird Al" Yankovic album with I hope a new polka parody! Of course, this raises a new question: What will we get our collective knickers in a twist tomorrow? Think it over while you listen to the song, and revisit the whole story, after the jump.

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Polka Face: Let's Help "Weird Al" Yankovic Write His Lady Gaga Parody

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Profoundly disturbing image by Camille Dodero
Today, Billboard reported that everyone's favorite accordion-playing pop-culture parodist, "Weird Al" Yankovic, is nine songs deep into his follow-up to 2006's Straight Outta Lynwood, and is possibly seeking inspiration from the current queen of the pop charts. We're no slouches when it comes to Lady Gaga fandom or horrifying puns as song titles, so we thought we'd help Al through his creative process a bit.  We're still working on turning "Alejandro" into "Don't Tase Me, Bro," but for the time being, here are our three best submissions.

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And Now, The Real Trailer For The Fake "Weird Al" Yankovic Biopic

A Funny or Die thing, this. Patton Oswalt as Dr. Demento, Olivia Wilde as Madonna, the dude from Breaking Bad as Al, Al himself as a bizarrely groomed skeptic. Could've used a Coolio cameo, but alas.

Let's Just Say Tonight's Roots Collaboration On Jimmy Fallon Might Be The Weirdest (And Awesomest) Yet

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