Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)

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"Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)"
TheOffspringPrettyFlyforaWhiteGuy.jpg
Standard artwork
Single by The Offspring
from the album Americana
B-side"Pretty Fly (For a White Guy) (The Geek Mix)"
ReleasedNovember 9, 1998
Format
Recorded1998
GenrePop punk[2]
Length3:07
LabelColumbia[3]
Songwriter(s)Dexter Holland/Steve Clark/Joe Elliott/Robert John "Mutt" Lange
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 US Billboard Hot 100, number 5 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and number 3 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. It was a major success internationally, reaching number one in 10 countries, including Australia, where it stayed at number one for six weeks and was certified quadruple platinum. 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. 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]

Music video[edit]

The video, directed by McG, begins with the "white guy" and some girls singing the opening lines, and 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 African-Americans, playing with his car's hydraulic system and interrupting a break dance session to dance himself. He is then carried by a group of girls to a pool party and thrown into the pool. He jumps out of the pool and finds some bikini clad dancers in front of him. These scenes are cut with the band playing. The video ends with the "white guy" returning home and scaring his little sister, who is 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]

Track listing[edit]

Cassette single and 7" black vinyl

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

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

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

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

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

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

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)[49] 4× Platinum 280,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[50] Gold 25,000*
Belgium (BEA)[51] Gold 25,000*
France (SNEP)[52] Gold 250,000*
Germany (BVMI)[53] Gold 250,000^
Italy (FIMI)[54] Gold 25,000*
Netherlands (NVPI)[55] Gold 50,000^
Norway (IFPI Norway)[56] 2× Platinum 20,000*
Sweden (GLF)[57] 3× Platinum 90,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[58] Platinum 600,000^

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

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Offspring, The – Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)". Discogs. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  2. ^ Williams, Mike (January 25, 2019). "In defence of 'Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)'". Australian Broadcasting Company. Retrieved July 31, 2019.
  3. ^ "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)". Rate Your Music. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  4. ^ Brunner, Rob (1 December 1998). "You Gotta Keep 'Em Alienated". Spin. p. 64 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Dexter Holland's Americana Tour
  6. ^ a b Norris, Chris (1 March 1999). "White Punks on Dope". Spin. p. 88 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ Cromelin, Richard (31 January 1999). "How to Survive in Suburbia". Los Angeles Times.
  8. ^ Bell, Carrie (March 20, 1999). "The Modern Age". Billboard. p. 75 – via Google Books.
  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. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – The Offspring – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved November 23, 2018).
  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). Fokus (in Icelandic). Dagblaðið Vísir. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
  20. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)". Irish Singles Chart.
  21. ^ "Top National Sellers" (PDF). Music & Media. Vol. 16 no. 12. March 20, 1999. p. 8. Retrieved November 28, 2019.
  22. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 4, 1999" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40
  23. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – The Offspring – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  24. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – The Offspring – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)". VG-lista.
  25. ^ "Polish Singles Chart". Lp3.polskieradio.pl. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  26. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  27. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – The Offspring – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)". Singles Top 100.
  28. ^ "Swisscharts.com – The Offspring – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)". Swiss Singles Chart.
  29. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  30. ^ "The Offspring Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  31. ^ "The Offspring Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard.
  32. ^ "The Offspring Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard.
  33. ^ "The Offspring Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  34. ^ "The Offspring Chart History (Rhythmic)". Billboard.
  35. ^ "ARIA Charts – End Of Year Charts – Top 100 Singles 1998". ARIA. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  36. ^ "Årslista Singlar – År 1998" (in Swedish). Hitlistan. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved June 23, 2019.
  37. ^ "ARIA Charts – End Of Year Charts – Top 100 Singles 1999". ARIA. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  38. ^ "Jahreshitparade Singles 1999" (in German). Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  39. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1999" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  40. ^ "Rapports annuels 1999" (in French). Ultratop. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  41. ^ "RPM 1999 Top 100 Hit Tracks". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 1, 2018.
  42. ^ "Classement Singles – année 1999" (in French). Archived from the original on March 5, 2012. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  43. ^ "Top 100 Singles–Jahrescharts 1999" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  44. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1999" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  45. ^ "Romanian Top 100: Top of the Year 1999" (in Romanian). Romanian Top 100. Archived from the original on January 22, 2005.
  46. ^ "Årslista Singlar – År 1999" (in Swedish). Hitlistan. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  47. ^ "Swiss Year-End Charts 1999" (in German). Retrieved November 23, 2018.
  48. ^ "Best Sellers of 1999: Singles Top 100". Music Week. London, England: United Business Media. 22 January 2000. p. 27.
  49. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1999 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  50. ^ "Austrian single certifications – The Offspring" (in German). IFPI Austria. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  51. ^ "Ultratop 50 Singles Vlaanderen 1999". Ultratop Belgien Charts. ultratop.be. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  52. ^ "French single certifications – OFFSPRING – PRETTY FLY" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  53. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank ('Pretty Fly')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  54. ^ "Italian single certifications – The Offspring – Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved October 23, 2017. Select "Tutti gli anni" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
  55. ^ "Dutch single certifications – The Offspring" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Retrieved October 11, 2019. Enter The Offspring in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  56. ^ "IFPI Norsk platebransje Trofeer 1993–2011" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway. Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  57. ^ "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.
  58. ^ "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.

External links[edit]