Rappin' Granny

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For the Howard Stern guest also called Rapping Granny, see Fruity Nutcake.
Rappin' Granny
Birth name Vivian Lee Smallwood
Born (1933-06-18) June 18, 1933 (age 83)
Origin Castaic, California, U.S.
Genres Hip hop
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1989–present

Vivian Lee Smallwood (born June 18, 1933), known by her stage name Rappin' Granny, is an American grandmother who performs hip-hop music. She lives in Castaic, California, near Los Angeles.

Smallwood was a contestant on the NBC television series America's Got Talent during the 2006 season.



Smallwood was employed as a postal worker and began rapping in the mid-1980s. She took first place in a rap contest at a South-Central Los Angeles roller rink with an anti-drug themed rap.[1] By 1988 she had formed a group with her son called Rappin' Granny and DJ Len.[2] She won a Granny of the Year contest in Pasadena in 1988, performing a rap version of the song "The Little Old Lady from Pasadena".[1][2] In 1989, she released a little-known, self-titled music video called "Rock-n-Soul".[3] Smallwood was signed to Tandem Records in 1992. She released the single "You Didn't Use Your Blinker Fool" as a response to the DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince song "You Saw My Blinker".[1] A brand of soda, Rappin Granny's Slammin Strawberry Hip Hop Pop, was named for her in 1995.[4]


Smallwood has been a working Hollywood actress since the mid-1990s. She has appeared in numerous television shows with small parts and a few feature films. Some of her credits include, Everybody Hates Chris, Malcolm in the Middle, The Shield, and The Ladykillers.[5] In Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996) she is credited as Vivian 'Rappin Granny' Smallwood.[6] She also played "Nano" in Big Bad Beetleborgs, a show on the former Fox Kids network. In 2012, she appeared on the How I Met Your Mother episode "The Magician's Code: Part 1".

Smallwood was featured in the Apollo Theater's Apollo Circus of Soul in 2007.[7]

America's Got Talent[edit]

Smallwood was a contestant on the NBC television series America's Got Talent[8][9] and qualified on the August 16, 2006 season finale for the one-million-dollar grand prize. In her audition, Rappin' Granny gave a performance that was very popular among the crowd and the judges, all of whom (Brandy, David Hasselhoff, and Piers Morgan) advanced her to the next round by way of a unanimous vote. Smallwood then returned for the semifinal episode that aired July 26, 2006. After another crowd-pleasing song, the judges again put her through to the next round, by another unanimous vote. For the final round, Smallwood rode in on a motorcycle.[10] However, the final round was not kind to Smallwood; not only did she not win the million-dollar prize, she finished in the bottom half of the public vote that determined the winner, as announced by host Regis Philbin.

Personal life[edit]

Smallwood has 15 grandchildren[10] and seven great-grandchildren.


  1. ^ a b c Lacey, Marc (April 12, 1992). "'Rappin' Granny' Sends Message With a Youthful Beat". Los Angeles Times. 
  2. ^ a b "Granny raps to fight problems of youth". Star-News. June 26, 1988. 
  3. ^ [1] Archived March 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Gertjegerdes, Carol (August 29, 1995). "Radio Personality Turns Hip Hop Pop Entrepreneur". Columbus Times. 
  5. ^ Willis, John; Monush, Barry, eds. (2006). Screen World: 2005 Film Annual. New York: Applause. p. 50. ISBN 978-1-55783-668-7. 
  6. ^ Willis, John; Monush, Barry, eds. (1998). Screen World 1997. New York: Applause. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-55783-320-4. 
  7. ^ Collins, Glenn (November 24, 2007). "The Circus Is in Town. All Over It, in Fact, in Six Troupes.". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ Slezak, Michael (July 27, 2006). "'America's Got Talent': The return of Rappin' Granny". Entertainment Weekly. 
  9. ^ Muir, John Kenneth (2007). TV Year: The Prime Time 2005-2006 Season. New York: Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-55783-684-7. 
  10. ^ a b Hope, Clover (2006). "Rapping Grandmother". XXL. Harris Publications. 10 (10). 

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