Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)

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"Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)"
TheOffspringPrettyFlyforaWhiteGuy.jpg
Single by The Offspring
from the album Americana
B-side "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy) (The Geek Mix)"
Released November 9, 1998
Format
Recorded 1998
Genre Punk rock
Length 3:07
Label Columbia[2]
Songwriter(s) Dexter Holland
Producer(s) Dave Jerden
The Offspring singles chronology
"I Choose"
(1997)
"Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)"
(1998)
"Why Don't You Get a Job?"
(1999)
Music video
"Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" on YouTube

"Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" is a song by American rock band 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, 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 four times platinum, and the United Kingdom,[3] making it one of the most commercially successful singles released by the band. The song is a mocking portrayal of a white man who likes to act like an African-American stereotype.

The song appears as the seventh track on their Greatest Hits (2005).

Composition and lyrics[edit]

Beginning with a sample of the pseudo-German nonsense phrase "Gunter glieben glauchen 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 because he believes it attracts women ("and all the girlies say I'm pretty fly, for a white guy").

As summed up by Dexter Holland, the people described in the lyrics "are from, like, Omaha, Nebraska, regular white-bread boys, but who act like they're from Compton. The song was the genesis of the metal/post-avant-garde movement with its early tendencies in the genre-defining the late 90's early 00's. It's so fake and obvious that they're trying to have an identity."[4] Holland detailed that he meets many teenagers like those in his native Orange County, "going to the mall, where they buy FUBU, Tommy Hilfiger, and Ice Cube's latest record."[5] Given rap culture is the starting point, Holland clarified that it was not an attack on African-Americans, but "poseurs of any kind",[6] but without wanting "to be preachy about it... We're getting amusement out of it more than anything else."[7]

Track listing[edit]

Cassette single and 7" black vinyl[edit]

No.TitleLength
1."Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)"3:08
2."Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" (The Geek mix)3:01

Initial pressing[edit]

No.TitleLength
1."Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)"3:08
2."Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" (The Geek mix)3:07
3."All I Want" (Live)2:02
4."Pretty Fly (for a White Guy)" (Spanish version)3:08

Australia CD Maxi[edit]

No.TitleLength
1."Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)"3:08
2."Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" (The Geek mix)3:07
3."No Brakes"2:06

Italy 12" black vinyl[edit]

No.TitleLength
1."Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)"3:08
2."Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" (The Geek Mix)3:07
3."Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" (The Baka Boys remix)3:01
4."All I Want" (Live)2:02

Promo 12" black vinyl[edit]

No.TitleLength
1."Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" (The Baka Boys Low Rider remix) 
2."Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" (The Baka Boys remix)3:01
3."Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" (Dust Bros Space Echo remix) 
4."Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" (Dust Bros Dust mix) 

Promo CD[edit]

No.TitleLength
1."Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" (album version)3:11
2."Callout Hook #1"0:10
3."Callout Hook #2"0:05

Music video[edit]

In the video, directed by McG, the video begins with the "white guy" singing the opening lines and with Offspring guitarist Noodles walking on the pavement with his guitar, playing the introductory riff. 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 himself. He is then carried by girls watching it to a pool party and thrown into the pool. He jumps out of the pool only to find a bunch of bikini clad dancers in front of him. 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 dishevelled appearance. According to Dexter Holland, the band wanted Seth Green to play the "white guy", but he was unavailable. After seeing an audition tape with "five unknowns", they settled on Guy Cohen,[8] who went on to cameo in the "Why Don't You Get a Job?" video and occasionally appear at Offspring concerts.[6] In Offspring's VEVO channel on YouTube, the video fades out as the song ends, cutting off the final scene.

DVD appearances[edit]

The music video also appears on the Complete Music Video Collection DVD. It was released in 2005. The DVD also contains a storyboard version of the video (in which the storyboard plays over top of the music video.)

Rock Band and Guitar Hero[edit]

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 track list on December 22, 2009. It was later made available as downloadable content for Guitar Hero Live, containing the music video.

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[38] 4× Platinum 280,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[39] Gold 25,000*
Belgium (BEA)[40] Gold 25,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[41] Diamond 100,000^
France (SNEP)[42] Gold 250,000*
Germany (BVMI)[43] Gold 250,000^
Italy (FIMI)[44] Gold 25,000*
Japan (RIAJ)[45] 14× Platinum 1,400,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[46] 2× Platinum 20,000*
Portugal (AFP)[47] 2× Platinum 80,000^
Sweden (GLF)[48] 3× Platinum 90,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[49] 8× Platinum 160,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[50] Platinum 600,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

In popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Offspring, The – Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)". Discogs. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  2. ^ "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)". Rate Your Music. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 629. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ LLC, SPIN Media (1 December 1998). "SPIN". SPIN Media LLC – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Dexter Holland's Americana Tour
  6. ^ a b LLC, SPIN Media (1 March 1999). "SPIN". SPIN Media LLC – via Google Books.
  7. ^ CROMELIN, RICHARD (31 January 1999). "How to Survive in Suburbia" – via LA Times.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "Australian-charts.com – The Offspring – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  10. ^ "Austriancharts.at – The Offspring – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  11. ^ "Ultratop.be – The Offspring – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  12. ^ "Ultratop.be – The Offspring – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  13. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6994." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  14. ^ Billboard - Google Books. Books.google.ca (1999-02-27). Retrieved on 2014-04-01.
  15. ^ "The Offspring: Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  16. ^ "Lescharts.com – The Offspring – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" (in French). Les classement single.
  17. ^ "Musicline.de – The Offspring Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  18. ^ "Top 10 Greece" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  19. ^ "Íslenski Listinn Topp 40 (NR. 302 Vikuna 11.12. - 18.12. 1998)" (PDF) (in Icelandic). Dagblaðið Vísir. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  20. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)". Irish Singles Chart.
  21. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 4, 1999" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40
  22. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – The Offspring – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  23. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – The Offspring – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)". VG-lista.
  24. ^ "Polish Singles Chart". Lp3.polskieradio.pl. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  25. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  26. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – The Offspring – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)". Singles Top 100.
  27. ^ "Swisscharts.com – The Offspring – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)". Swiss Singles Chart.
  28. ^ "The Offspring: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  29. ^ "The Offspring Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard.
  30. ^ "The Offspring Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  31. ^ "The Offspring Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard.
  32. ^ "The Offspring Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  33. ^ "The Offspring Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard.
  34. ^ "RPM 1999 Top 100 Hit Tracks". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  35. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  36. ^ "Romanian Top 100: Top of the Year 1999" (in Romanian). Romanian Top 100. Archived from the original on January 22, 2005.
  37. ^ "Swiss year-end chart". swisscharts.com. 1999. Archived from the original on March 1, 2012. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  38. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1999 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  39. ^ "Austrian single certifications – The Offspring" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved September 13, 2015. Enter The Offspring in the field Interpret. Select single in the field Format. Click Suchen. 
  40. ^ "Ultratop 50 Singles Vlaanderen 1999". Ultratop Belgien Charts. ultratop.be. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  41. ^ "Canadian single certifications – The Offspring". Music Canada. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  42. ^ "French single certifications – OFFSPRING – PRETTY FLY" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  43. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank ('Pretty Fly')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  44. ^ "Italian single certifications – The Offspring – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  45. ^ "Japanese single certifications – The Offspring" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  46. ^ "IFPI Norsk platebransje Trofeer 1993–2011" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  47. ^ "Portuguese single certifications – The Offspring" (in Portuguese). Associação Fonográfica Portuguesa. Retrieved September 9, 2011.
  48. ^ "Sverigetopplistan – Sveriges Officiella Topplista". Sverigetopplistan (in Swedish). IFPI Sverige. Retrieved September 13, 2015. Note: Search for "Offspring" and press "Sök" to see the search results. Select "PRETTY FLY (FOR A WHITE GUY)" and press "VISA" to see various charting positions and certification awards.
  49. ^ "Spanish single certifications – The Offspring" (PDF) (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España. Retrieved June 4, 2012. Select single under "Chart", enter 1999 in the field "Year". Select the certification month in the field "Semana". Click on "Search Charts".
  50. ^ "British single certifications – Offspring – PRETTY FLY (FOR A WHITE GUY)". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved September 13, 2015. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type PRETTY FLY (FOR A WHITE GUY) in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  51. ^ "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)". ActiveMusician.com. Archived from the original on 2014-04-07. Retrieved 2014-04-01.

External links[edit]