Hip-Hop Artists Rap Beloved Children's Book 'Llama Llama Red Pajama' Llama Llama Red Pajama is a beloved children's book. It's also now, thanks to a Los Angeles morning DJ, source material for hip-hop artists.
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Hip-Hop Artists Rap Beloved Children's Book 'Llama Llama Red Pajama'

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Hip-Hop Artists Rap Beloved Children's Book 'Llama Llama Red Pajama'

Hip-Hop Artists Rap Beloved Children's Book 'Llama Llama Red Pajama'

Hip-Hop Artists Rap Beloved Children's Book 'Llama Llama Red Pajama'

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/526779504/526779505" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Llama Llama Red Pajama is a beloved children's book. It's also now, thanks to a Los Angeles morning DJ, source material for hip-hop artists.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

A good baby gift idea is to record some friends reading their favorite children's books. Or you could have some of the biggest names in rap and hip-hop do it.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

First you need a good beat.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "THE CRUZ SHOW")

LUDACRIS: (Rapping) Hey, llama llama red pajama reads a story - with who? - with his mama. Hey...

SIEGEL: That is Ludacris with his interpretation of the book "Llama Llama Red Pajama."

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "THE CRUZ SHOW")

LUDACRIS: (Rapping) Llama llama - what? - red pajama feels alone - with who? - without his mama.

MCEVERS: The video of "Llama Llama" as a rap is the latest video to go viral. It has more than one and a half million views on YouTube. You can thank J Cruz for these moments. He is the host of "The Cruz Show" on Power 106. That's a big hip-hop station here in Los Angeles.

SIEGEL: Cruz told us he was in a Barnes and Noble last year - he was going to be a dad soon - and the book caught his eye.

J CRUZ: I got to reading it and it kind of rhymed. And I kind of started like, llama llama red pajama went downstairs with his mama. OK. And I'm kind of reading it as the way an artist would read it, or at least I was trying. And then we thought, man, this would be very cool if we had artists reading it with a beat under them.

MCEVERS: So he asked the rapper Jeezy to give it a try.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "THE CRUZ SHOW")

CRUZ: If we throw on a beat, can you read this?

JEEZY: No, I don't think I want to.

CRUZ: Why not?

JEEZY: I don't want to do...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: For his kid.

JEEZY: (Unintelligible) Check it out though.

CRUZ: Come on, it's for my kid, Jeezy.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He's going to play it for him. Uh-oh.

JEEZY: (Rapping) Mama kisses the baby hairs on the llama, goes downstairs.

MCEVERS: After that, other guests on "The Cruz Show" really started to get into it. There was D.R.A.M.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "THE CRUZ SHOW")

D.R.A.M.: (Rapping) I said mama kisses baby's hair, Mama Llama goes downstairs. Llama llama red pajama calls down to llama mama, mama says she'll be up soon. Baby llama hums a tune.

SIEGEL: I like that one. Migos took it in a different direction.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "THE CRUZ SHOW")

UNIDENTIFIED RAPPER #1: (Rapping) Llama llama waiting, waiting...

UNIDENTIFIED RAPPER #2: (Rapping) Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED RAPPER #1: (Rapping) ...For his mama.

UNIDENTIFIED RAPPER #3: (Rapping) Hey.

UNIDENTIFIED RAPPER #1: (Rapping) What's he waiting for?

UNIDENTIFIED RAPPER #2: (Rapping) Mama.

UNIDENTIFIED RAPPER #1: (Rapping) Yeah, coming. Yeah, baby llama.

MCEVERS: J Cruz says he thinks there's a reason people love the videos.

CRUZ: You know, it shows that they're human. It shows that they like to have fun. And it just shows a different side of them.

SIEGEL: Cruz told us - and this is an exclusive - that he intends on asking artists to rap and sing other "Llama Llama" books, and one day he plans on giving the recordings to his son Cameron, who's now two months old.

MCEVERS: The author of the "Llama Llama" series, Anna Dewdney, died last September at the age of 50, just before this became a thing.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO SHOW, "THE CRUZ SHOW")

LUDACRIS: (Rapping) Baby llama, it wants a drink. Mama's at the kitchen - what? - the kitchen sink. I'm talking...

SIEGEL: Her partner, Reed Duncan, told us in a statement that Anna would be a bit incredulous that Ludacris and other hip-hop artists have freestyled her work, but she would definitely love it. He adds that she was actually a fan of Ludacris and that the hip-hop versions highlight her superior sense of rhythm and word flow.

MCEVERS: He ended his statement with this - Anna Dewdney represent, yo. So, Robert, what about you? Do you want to do a version?

SIEGEL: Do a public radio version, perhaps?

MCEVERS: Yeah, please. Yeah. Yeah.

SIEGEL: Yama (ph) yama red pajama reportedly reads a story with his mama.

MCEVERS: That's awesome.

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