Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is wrapping up its fourth and final season, so it only feels right that there was a reprise of the season one classic “JAP Rap” in the March 22 episode called “I Need to Find My Frenemy.”
As I wrote before in a ranking of the most Jewish Crazy Ex-Girlfriend songs, the original JAP rap was “purely for the show’s Jewish audience, and it was perfect. Every reference in this song — including AP weighted grades, ‘sheket bevaka shut the fuck up,’ AEPI guys, Birthright, ACLU, Scarsdale, shtetl, ‘of course, I support Israel’ — made me laugh so hard.”
In the episode, Rebecca (Rachel Bloom, our queen) has gone to Las Vegas to search for her longtime nemesis Audra (Rachel Grate), who went to a bachelorette party and didn’t return back to New York. We don’t want to spoil you further, but when the two realize they actualy kind of admire each other, there is a sequel to their iconic rap battle, this time full of passive aggressive compliments.
Shall we break down the most Jewish parts?
All of our lives you were toxic, obnoxious / Now though, you’ve brought me from nauseous to naches
I’m proud of you, Bunch / You’re a grown-up, you got this /Kol hakavod, you’re a goddess
Audra begins with a diss at Rebecca — you’ve been “toxic, obnoxious” — but then says we’ve gone from nauseous to naches. For those who don’t know, naches is Yiddish for pride and joy. So, Audra has gone from feeling nauseous (a common Jewish thing, tbh) to feeling pride for her former enemy. “Kol hakavod” is Hebrew for “good job” (or “way to go!” or “well done!”), so Audra is again complimenting Rebecca.
Well, you’ve got a free spirit, which I see and commend So, like 2 Chainz without the “NZ” at the end
I wish you double chai / For following the tug / Of your heart behind your 36 triple-D jugs
As Audra astutely notes, when you remove the “n” and “z” from 2 Chainz, you get double chai. Chai (חי) is the Hebrew word for life, so she’s wishing Rebecca a long life and luck. (Chai played a role in another beloved Jewish TV show, Russian Doll). Also: can’t ignore the nod to Rebecca’s gigantic boobs (or joobs, if you will).
Nice bubble, Bubbeleh, I really hate to pop it
But nobody’s got a plaudit any hotter than I drop it
Bubbeleh is a Yiddish term of endearment, meaning “little grandmother.”
This is… A JAP praise fight
Half affirmation / half cage fight
Killing you with kindness / yeah, you’re dang right
It’s a head-to-head yasher koach mazel tov off
The ending of this chorus is just soooo good. Yasher koach literally means “may you grow in strength” and is often used to essentially say “good job.” And, mazel tov means “congratulations.” But you gotta watch — the delivery is just perfect.
Then you might as well call me the Michelle of the kvell
To kvell is to “burst with pride.” It’s also the name of our sister site, Kveller. (Rachel Bloom, do you read Kveller?!?!)
Okay, but the best part of the song is arguably when they stop singing, and Rachel Bloom (as Rebecca) turns to stare at the camera and address it, breaking the fourth wall with an important PSA.
After she says the lyric “dap to this JAP” – dap is a greeting and JAP means Jewish American Princess — the music changes, she pauses, and she then says the following:
Which does stand for Jewish American Princess, a term that, on one hand, does reinforce negative, negative stereotypes about both Jews and women. But, on the other hand, is a term that we want to reclaim and own. Also, should acknowledge that me saying ‘dap to this JAP’ is appropriative and a little problematic, if we’re being honest.
Which: HELL YES, CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND.
Yes, the term JAP can reinforce negative stereotypes, but some Jewish women are also happy to reclaim the word.
As Jessica Klein wrote in Alma, “Maybe the world is starting to see assertive women, including assertive Jewish women, as strong and powerful, not demanding and spoiled. Maybe we can ditch the negative connotations of ‘JAP’ and keep the confident attitude it implies.”
The fact that this silly song actually addressed the complicated nature of the word JAP? Kol hakavod, indeed.
Thank you, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, for bringing us another gloriously Jewy song.
Watch the full video here: