Sign language interpreter outshines Snoop Dogg

Holly Maniatty interprets Snoop Dogg for the hearing impaired at the New Orleans Jazz Festival. Video still from Facebook

It takes some pretty fresh moves to upstage hip hop mogul Snoop Dogg, but ASL interpreter Holly Maniatty has done it. At one of his recent performances she stole the show with flow as slick as the rapper himself.

Maniatty is an Atlanta-based interpreter and has been signing at concerts for more than 14 years. She was hired by the New Orleans Jazz Festival this past weekend to interpret some of their concerts, and if you think she’s a straight-faced, lyrics translator, think again.

In a video posted to Facebook, Maniatty can ben seen on a platform below Snoop,  bouncing, rolling, and signing as if she were the rapper himself.

As the video’s caption says, “I didn’t know which one to watch @snoopdogg or the #interpreter.”

Here’s another video of her signing at the same festival for Trombone Shorty:

If it looks like Maniatty is familiar with Snoop and Trombone Shorty’s work, it’s because she’s done her homework. Back in 2013, Vice did a Q&A with her after watching a Wu-Tang concert she interpreted. Her show prep goes a little something like this:

“I spent about 50-80 hours studying their music, going online and watching interviews with them, and reading every possible thing I could about their background and where they’re from and all that kind of stuff to get to know them as intimately as performers as I can.”

Yup, she’s studious about her hip hop. In fact, over the past 14 years she’s come to specialise in the genre and has learned the canon of some artists.

So what happens if the artist freestyles?

“Then you freestyle, too!” Holly tells Vice.

Giving people access to music while freestyling with your hands? Holly Maniatty, we salute you.