What’s up with all these double Rs in the names of pop songs? “Hot in Herre” by Nelly? “Right Thurr” by Chingy? “Dirrty” by Christina Aguilera?

“That’s just how we talk!” Chingy said when I asked him. “In California, they say it proper.” Chingy is from St. Louis, as is Nelly, and says that the extra R is an effort to represent the local accent. (Aguilera isn’t from thurr, which means that either she’s latching onto an urban trend or that it’s one more mystery for Christina’s world.) Chingy tried to pronounce “there” in the style he called “proper”—so it rhymes with “hair” instead of “her”—but could barely get it out of his mouth, and after a few attempts, gave up, and said, “I can’t even say it like that, it’d sound stupid.”

(Excerpted from the 2006 book Is Tiny Dancer Really Elton’s Little John?: Music’s Most Enduring Mysteries, Myths, and Rumors Revealed, published by Three Rivers Press, written by Gavin Edwards.)