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July 19, 2016

Explainer: The songs, and cartoon characters, swept up in Melania Trump's plagiarism scandal

Yeah, yeah, yeah, seven percent of Melania Trump’s speech to the Republican National Convention might’ve been cribbed from Michelle Obama’s speech to the Democratic National Convention eight years earlier.

Let ye who’s never plagiarized a speech in a packed arena, before millions upon millions of television viewers, cast the first stone.

That’s not important. What’s important is this Tweet from Tony Gatto, “Assignment Editor at WPIX-TV/Blogger/Social Media news guy” who noted that some RNC dude named Sean Spicer said Melania’s words feat. Kid Rock, John Legend, Public Enemy, Akon and House of Pain. He also brought up “My Little Pony,” bronies.

John Legend has already weighed in on said cribbing via Twitter. Public Enemy’s Chuck D did tangentially, as well.

But, Akon, House of Pain and Kid Rock have not. (Nor has the Little Pony, because cartoons aren't irl talking people, folks.) Which is fine. To each their own. 

But this whole kerfuffle got us to thinking: What lyrics from the aforementioned performers would’ve fit best into Melania’s address, which you can read in its entirety via this link?

Sensing a bit of Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy” in Melania’s, “after living and working in Milan and Paris, I arrived in New York City twenty years ago, and I saw both the joys and the hardships of daily life” passage …

…. and the blatant Rick Astley sensibility of “He will never, ever, give up. And, most importantly, he will never, ever, let you down” …

Anyway, per Spicer during a CNN interview, the Akon lyrics he cited came from a track called “Gangsta.” Let’s compare, contrast and NSFW watch:

Melania: “Work hard for what you want in life.”

Akon: “Work hard for what you get in life n----a.”

The Legend lyrics he cited came from a track (feat. The Roots, and CL Smooth) called “Our Generation (The Hope of the World).”

The CL Smooth lyrics: “Work hard to be anything you want in life.”

Melania: “From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life.”

Spicer then veers into “My Little Pony” territory. To wit:

Melania: “Because we want our children in this nation to know that the only limit to your achievements is the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.”

Twilight Sparkle: “This is your dream. Anything you can do in your dreams, you can do now.”

Here’s a video called “Twilight Sparkle’s Dream”:

Spicer didn’t cite specific lyrics for other bands, including House of Pain, Public Enemy and Ice T, so we’ll go ahead and try to fill in the blanks.

With Public Enemy, perhaps he was talking the “word is bond” section of the speech?

Melania: “From a young age, my parents impressed on me the values that you work hard for what you want in life: that your word is your bond …”

Public Enemy, from “How To Kill A Radio Consultant”: “When the quiet storm come on I fall sleep. What they need is Arbitron on the funky jeep. Too bad it's going on in fact my word is bond.”

Onto House of Pain, which is best known for the bumping track “Jump Around,” but it was difficult to find any overlap between the song and the speech. Perhaps Spicer meant the parental references...

Melania: "My elegant and hard-working mother Amalia introduced me to fashion and beauty. My father Viktor instilled in me a passion for business and travel."

HoP: "I got more rhymes than there's cops at a Dunkin Donuts shop. Sure enough I got props from the kids on the Hill, plus my mom and my pops."

Ice T is trickier, of course, since Rudy Giuliani did all the talking about cops and those who kill (or are killed by) them, so it couldn’t have been his “Cop Killer” track that Spicer cited:

Is it “Colors”? Hell, I don’t know. We've carried on about this long enough and wanna get back to watching "My Little Pony" videos now.