Channel Awesome
Black and Yellow

Black and Yellow by the butterfly.jpg

Date Aired
March 12th, 2011
Running Time
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Todd plays "Black and Yellow" on his piano.

A pop song review

Todd: Okay, now, I am a pretty focused observer of the pop charts, and when you watch the charts as closely as I do, you get a good feel about what's gonna get big and what's not. But things can still surprise you sometimes. For example, a while back, I encountered a song on the radio called "Ice Cream Paint Job."

Video for Dorrough - "Ice Cream Paint Job"
Dorrough: Cream on the inside clean on the outside

Todd (VO): It was by a guy named Dorrough, was about his car's snazzy paint job. This song has always been in the back of my mind, and I've always been a little fascinated by it because I couldn't help but be completely and utterly baffled by the fact that it was actually getting airplay and made it into the Top 40. And I'm not saying that 'cause it was bad, certainly was bad; and it wasn't because it was too weird to be popular because it was nothing like that at all.

Todd: Let me put it like this.

Clip from Transformers

Todd (VO): I hated the Transformers movie. Hated it, thought it was one of the worst I'd ever seen. I was [cut to Todd on a couch] literally writhing in pain while watching it.

Judy Witwicky: Were you...masturbating?
Sam: No, I don't masturbate!

Todd (on couch): Kill me!!! Kill me!!!

Todd (back to normal): But even though I hated it, I get why Transformers played in my local multiplex, and I get why [poster of...] Transmorphers, while being of roughly the same quality, went straight to DVD. What I mean is, there's the kind of bad that gets popular, and then there's the kind of bad that doesn't, or at least that's what I thought about the world before I heard "Ice Cream Paint Job."

Dorrough: Ice cream paint job, i-ice cream paint job

Todd: Yeah, "Ice Cream Paint Job" was the first song I thought of when I heard this song...

Video for...

Todd (VO): "Black and Yellow" by newcomer Wiz Khalifa—partially 'cause it's on a car's paint job, but also because I couldn't imagine a song like this getting big and I was dead wrong.

Todd: Now, on repeated listen, maybe "Black and Yellow" does not deserve the comparison.

Todd (VO): For one, the production is a billion times better and it has an actual hook. But nonetheless, it still sets off my "why is this popular?" alarm., largely because of the no-name with the microphone.

Todd: Now, this guy is named Wiz Khalifa. What do I know about him? I know that if he's never used the line, [sticker for The Wiz] "Nobody beats the Wiz," in a song, I will be extremely disappointed. Other than that, no clue about him. [long pause] He does not seem to realize that, though.

Wiz Khalifa: Uh huh, you know what it is

Todd: I do?

Wiz: You know what it is
Black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellow
Yeah, uh huh, you know what it is

Todd: No, I...I don't know what it is.

Todd (VO): And I don't know who you are, and I don't know what "black and yellow" is supposed to mean.

Wiz: Black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellow

Todd: They're, uh...they're colors...I guess.

Wiz: Black stripe, yellow paint

Todd (VO): So...what? So your car's black and yellow.

Todd: Why would you have a whole song about that? The only reason I can think of that I would [Clip from Transformers] care that you had a black-and-yellow car, is if your car was... [A black-and-yellow car becomes Bumblebee] wait.

Todd: NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!

Todd (VO): No, that's not it. [Clip from video for Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne & Swizz Beatz - "I Can Transform Ya"] One Transformers-themed rap song was enough.

Todd: So "black and yellow" means...what? What are you trying to say? Are you, I don't know, a Steelers fan?

Footage of Wiz at a Steelers game

Todd (VO): Oh, I guess it is right. [Back to video] Specifically, as I have since discovered, he's standing up for his hometown of Pittsburgh, where [logos of the Steelers, Pirates and Penguins] all the major sports teams wear black and yellow. In fact, if you're a fan of both hip-hop and professional sports...

Todd: ...and I assume all of you are...

Footage of the Steelers

Todd (VO):'d know that "Black and Yellow" turned into the unofficial Steelers anthem during their amazing playoff run, making "Black and Yellow" the first real football championship single since "The Super Bowl Shuffle." [Cover of Daily News featuring the Green Bay Packers' victory at the Super Bowl. Losing horns from The Price Is Right play.] Oh, right, except the Steelers lost.

Todd: In fact, Lil Wayne, team-hopper that he is, released a response song called "Green and Yellow" right before the Super Bowl in support of the Packers. Now, I'm not saying that was a factor in the game, but...[balancing it out] Packers had the support of [Rolling Stone cover of...] Lil Wayne, Steelers had the support of [Picture of Wiz] this guy. In retrospect, the results were not all that surprising. But...hey, maybe Pittsburgh can send the song back into circulation if [picture of...] the Penguins make a run for the Stanley Cup, 'cause God knows [Picture of Bob and Doug MacKenzie] hockey fans love their hip-hop. Or they can use the song again if the Pirates go to the World Series this year. [Thinks about it and chuckles at the thought]

Todd (VO): But my issues with the song go beyond just the fact that the Steelers are a bunch of losing losers of losingness. It's also just the fact that it's a rap song about Pittsburgh.

Wiz: Repping my town when you see me you know everything

Todd (VO): Representing your town...

Todd: ...that's...that's...that's sweet. Look, I hate to break it to you, Wiz...[laughs at it] Wiz. Hate to break it to you, Wiz. No one cares about Pittsburgh.

Todd (VO): Think about it. Have you ever heard a single song about Pittsburgh before? No, of course not. [Clip from "Empire State of Mind"] New York is a place you write songs about, or Los Angeles or Chicago or Miami, Las Vegas, Paris, Rome.

Todd: Not Cleveland, not Toronto, and certainly not Pittsburgh. It just doesn't have an identity that people care about. I mean...

Clips from videos for Elton John - "Philadelphia Freedom"; Bruce Springsteen - "Streets of Philadelphia"; MSFB - "T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)"; Neil Young - "Philadelphia"; Boyz II Men - "Motownphilly"

Todd (VO): Look down the street at Philadelphia, which is not high on the list of cities to write music about, but, you know, it does have quite a few very good songs written about it. I mean, come on. [Clip of Billy Joel - ...] Allentown had a hit song before you guys did.

Todd: Now granted, I've never been to Pittsburgh. Maybe I should bring in somebody who actually knows something about the place before I judge it. Who do I know from Pennsylvania? [Pulls out a book] Let's pull out the Channel Awesome directory over here. God, there's a lot of people on this site. Chris Larios—Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Never heard of him. But we'll give him a call. [Reaches into pocket] Let's see...

Rollo T: [answering phone] Ahoy-hoy.

Todd: Hey, Chris?

Rollo T: Yeah.

Todd: You live in Pennsylvania, right? What do you think about Pittsburgh?

Rollo T: Pittsburgh, eh? Let me tell you about Pittsburgh. It's just as filthy and disgusting as Philadelphia, but without any of the historical significance.

Todd: Well...yeah, but you know, it is a big city. I'm sure they've got their good parts...

Rollo T: What other city is gonna take a rapist quarterback and treat him like a national treasure?

Todd: be fair to the guy, I mean, he wasn't actually charged with...

Rollo T: It's filled with nothing but bandwagon Steelers fans. Ask them to name a starting player on their defensive line, they're like, "but I thought Ben Roethlisberger throw touchdown pass to Troy Polamalu."

Todd: Okay, well thanks for your input, Chris. It was good to talk to you...

Rollo T: They don't even have the decency to have cheesesteaks. They have Pittsburgh sandwiches, which are just regular sandwiches, but with fries on them.

Todd: That doesn't sound so bad, actually.

Rollo T: See, that's not a cultural delicacy. That's just what happens when the waitress drops your carryout order.

Todd: Okay, well, I'm gonna go now, Chris.

Rollo T: Oh, and speaking of the Steelers and bad food, what's up with Blitzburgh Crunch?

Todd: Chris, I'm hanging up now.

Rollo T: What's up with their silent "H"? [Todd hangs up] Hello?

Todd: Geez. That was a little harsh. You know what? I kinda feel bad now. You know, Pittsburgh can't be that bad. I mean, you know what city sucks? [Image of United States with arrow pointing to Bumfuck Nowhere, VA] Mine. This place is boring as hell; at least Pittsburgh's an actual big city with people and culture and stuff. You know, I don't have room to judge; I think Pittsburgh is awesome. You know what, you tell 'em, Wiz. Steel City represent!

Wiz: Soon as I hit the club look at them hoes face
Hit the pedal once make the floor shake

Todd: Uh-huh?

Wiz: I let her get high, she want and she feel that, convertible drop fill, 87 the top peel

Todd: Uh-huh?

Wiz: Got a pocket full of big faces
Throw it up 'cause everybody that I'm with tailored

Todd: This doesn't have a goddamn thing to do with Pittsburgh, does it?

Todd (VO): Okay, you know what? I'm sorry, the whole video is about Pittsburgh The chorus is about Pittsburgh, the freaking title is about Pittsburgh, and he can't think of a single thing to say about the city itself?! Wow, Pittsburgh really must suck. Way to represent, Khalifa. No wonder I couldn't figure out what "black and yellow" meant. Oh, but the song does mention that Wiz Khalifa has money, cars and hos.

Todd: That's right—he talks about the things other rappers don't have the balls to.

Todd (VO): No, he doesn't actually talk about anything you haven't heard a billion times before. But he does distinguish himself by not being very good at it. I don't even think he knows what a rapper's supposed to do.

Wiz: Hear them haters talk but there's nothing you can tell 'em

Todd: Shouldn't there be?

Todd (VO): I mean, you're sure you don't wanna try and rebut the haters? I mean, hell, you're a rapper, that's your entire job!

Wiz: Got a call from my jeweler, this just in
Women love me 'cause I'm messing with their best friends

Todd: What? Now how does that make any sense? Why would she be happy if you're having sex with her best friend....oh...oh. I get what you're saying. That's what she's into, huh? Doesn't mind a little extra company in the bedroom? More the merrier, am I right? Nothing wrong with a little girl-on-girly action going. Hell yeah, you lucky son-of-a-bit...

Wiz: Not a lesbian

Todd: Huh.

Wiz: Not a lesbian but she a freak though

Todd (VO): That whole part is just...awkward. I guess he's trying to assure us that his girl is still into guys, but it comes off as weirdly defensive. Like, no one said she was a lesbian, dude. Where the hell did that come from?

Todd: My girl's hot! She doesn't have herpes. [Long pause] What?

Wiz: nothing you can tell 'em
Just made a million, got another million on my schedule

Todd: Yeah, you go right ahead and schedule that. It's good to plan ahead. And you might as well spend it right away since it's already scheduled because stock in Wiz Khalifa Industries is gonna do nothing but rise. No, I hate it when rappers do that.

Todd (VO): You can't brag about being rich and successful when this is your first released single. Now that just annoys the hell out of me. And no, you can't just say, "well, everybody does it." Eminem didn't, 50 Cent didn't.

Todd: They started rapping about being dead broke. Better that than being blatantly full of crap and recycling cliches. I mean, we have run out of good ways to rap about being rich. All that's left is stupidity like this.

Wiz: I'm sipping cleeko and rocking yellow diamonds
So many rocks up in the watch I can't tell what the time is

Todd: Then it's a bad watch. You really sure you wanna brag about carrying around a crappy, useless watch? Geez, this guy. How much you wanna bet his fancy, pimped-out car he keeps talking about doesn't [picture of stripped car on cinder blocks] have any tires? Oh, and speaking of his car.

Wiz: No love for 'em while I'm breaking hearts
No keys, push to start

Todd: Keyless, huh? Got that, everybody? His car is flashy, expensive, [article about car theft: "Cars that have keyless entry [...] are in the most jeopardy.] and easy to steal. But I'm sure he doesn't have to worry about that kind of thing on the safe, affluent streets of Pittsburgh.

Wiz: Stay fly like...

Todd: a G6?

Wiz: I'm supposed to do

Todd (VO): Oh, sorry. Carry on.

Wiz: And my car look unapproachable

[Todd sits]

And my car look unapproachable

Todd plays fanfare for...FINISH THE RHYME

Todd: I'm not even playing this time. I'm not gonna do it. There's no point. 'Cause I don't even know what's gonna happen. Nothing rhymes with that. What is he gonna put there? Coachable? Poachable? No. He's either gonna rhyme it with itself, or he's gonna come up with this horrible forced rhyme that won't fit at all unless he twists the words beyond recognition. So let's see it. Let's see what he does. Rhyme that shit. Go on.

Wiz: And my car look unapproachable
Super clean but its super mean
She wanna ride with them cats, count stacks, get fly, take trips and that's that

Todd: [long pause, then claps] Bravo, sir. Bra-vo.

Todd (VO): Didn't even try. Wow. Wow. I had not even considered that as a possibility. Abandon the rhyme scheme entirely. Clogged toilets have better flow than this guy.

Wiz: Repping my town when you see me you know everything
Black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellow, black and yellow
Yeah, uh huh, you know what it is
Ya'll already know what it is, man
If you don't, you should by now

Todd (VO): Yeah, I guess I should, considering you repeated "black and yellow" five billion times. You know, this guy's supposed to be the hot, new, up-and-coming rapper, but I don't see it. Maybe he's more interesting in other songs, but on the basis of this, he's just a boring T.I. wannabe. The catchy hook is doing all the work for him 'cause he doesn't have a single noteworthy line, and he doesn't have an especially compelling delivery. Oh, and here's a hint—when your name is Wiz, yellow is a color you should be trying to avoid.

Todd: And regardless, I'm still not convinced that an economically depressed, working-class town like Pittsburgh deserves some opulent money-cash-hos anthem dedicated to it. Now, you know where in Pennsylvania does deserve a rap song? Scranton.

Clip from The Office with Michael and Dwight rapping
Michael: They call it Scranton!
Dwight: What?!
Michael: The Electric City! Scranton!
Dwight: What?!
Michael: The Electric City!

Todd: I'm Todd In The Shadows—I listen to it 'cause you don't want to, and I'm out.

Closing tag song: Michael and Dwight - "Lazy Scranton"

"Black and Yellow" is owned by Atlantic Records
This video is owned by me

[continued over end card]

Michael: Because of the electricity
The city's laid out from east to west
And our public parks and libraries are truly the...
Wiz: I hear they're scared of it but them pros ain't

Todd: You know who else wasn't scared of it? The Packers. Burn!