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(Originally posted to travel.stackexchange.com)

A common theme I've noticed in many "big-beat" songs and the electronic genre, especially songs by British artists, is to use voice-samples of a particular American accent, or imitiate this accent if the music artist is doing their own vocals.

An example of it can be heard in this Underworld song "Push Downstairs" from time 1:01.

Other artists whose music I've heard similar, or the same, accent in include Fatboy Slim and, I think, the Chemical Brothers - but Underworld in particular are regular users of this accent (I note Underworld, Fatboy Slim, and the Chemical Brothers are all British big-beat/electronica music artists)

I have a personal mental association of the accent with 1970s Vegas culture: I visualize a thin (not overweight) MC at a mid-market casino or event wearing a 10-gallon hat and bola-tie and sideburns talking with this accent (looking like Bob from Bob's RV Roundup. This mental association might be from someone I saw on TV that spoke like this (Bob himself sounds almost similar, I note - but I wouldn't describe it as a "cowboy accent").

Having been to Vegas in person, and as a 4-year resident of the US West Coast, I can't say I've ever heard this accent spoken by a person in real-life.

So where is it from? Is it a real accent with a geographical or historical basis - or a manufactured accent like the Mid-Atlantic accent?

  • To my ear, the enunciation is paying homage to the rap/hiphop influences of the genre (certainly it has additional influences). Similarly you don't need to be from Jamaica to sing a Jamacan song and while you might not appropriate all of the pronuciations the rhythmic aspects of the language are inseparable from the music. Personally I'd call evolving accents 'new' or 'hybrid' before I called them 'fake'... reserving 'fake' for a poor effort to pass as speaking a language as if you were from a different country of origin. – Tom22 Jan 18 '17 at 20:10
  • @Tom22 I've changed my language. I didn't mean "fake" in a derogatory way. – Dai Jan 18 '17 at 20:18
  • It most reminds me of the character Cleveland Brown from the show "The Family Guy". "Suburban middle class black male" possibly. – Andrew Jan 18 '17 at 20:25
  • Cool. : ) I can get hung up on a word or two sometimes. While other people here might have answers and could possibly place the accent, I still think your question isn't so much about accent, but how accents change when people sing, and to what extent genre influences that further. I googled that and found some interesting discussions. Here is one, but there are others. mentalfloss.com/article/29780/… Also, even though your question got transferred here, I imagine people here are looking more at word usage than vocal intonation. – Tom22 Jan 18 '17 at 20:25
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    @Tom22 I don't think accents are necessarily off-topic. – Hank Jan 18 '17 at 20:50
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Image of Sammy Davis Jr. singing on stage

You are correct in associating that manner of speaking with Las Vegas, as it recalls visions of b&w autographed celebrity portraits, wood-paneled walls, candlelit tables, and over-sized red velvet booths, straddling a complimentary all you can eat buffet. An olfactory entree of steaming lobster tail and breaded veal cutlet served with a melange of ambergris-based perfumes, drizzled with a delicate compote of cigarettes and the occasional pipe tobacco, flambeed table-side with cheap liquors.

Ah...Vegas. Only your timing needs adjustment, as the "source" for that sound I suspect is Sammy Davis Jr. A blend of Harlem, New York-born Afro-American accent, with a Puerto Rican influenced metre, late 50's-60's hipster vocab, alcohol intoxication, and cool. Served by a bar or poolside only, via Sennheiser microphone. If it had a name, I suppose it would be a "Candyman Lounge" accent. Look up "Sammy's Visit" on "All in the Family" on youtube for a very old and still very funny episode.

YouTube clip: Rat Pack, Frank- Dean- Sammy- 1965. Good examples at 1:13:00.

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Not 100% sure but I'd say it sounds most like an old country "Western" accent - Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri. When he says "...words sound like..." in the beginning, I also thought it sounded like someone from the UK doing an American "Western" accent. ;-)

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