Rap and slang are as inextricable as Rush Limbaugh and dittoheads; cholula and antacids. Slang is regional and national, different lexicons in almost every county. As “Blue Mamba,” Trey Kirby suggested, you could listen to Cash Money 1998-2002 and come up with a hundred of these. We gathered a crack team of rap mimes to determine the 25 greatest instances of rap slanguage. All so you can distinguish a chickenhead from a skeezer. Polly till you deficit. –Aaron Matthews
25. Knocking Da Boots
Um, outdated? Excuse me, but I ONLY refer to love making as “knockin’ da boots.” Also, sometimes I say it for ordinary things too, like, “Me? Oh, I’m not doing much, just up at this grocery story, knockin’ da boots in the dairy isle. We were out of cheese.” Or if I’m getting off the phone: “Alright, man. I’ll knock da boots with you later.”
So there. –Shea Sherrano
Not to be confused with one of a billion different weed euphemisms, Homer Simpson’s bastard brother, or that one magazine for people who thought it was dope how Keith Murray got sampled on that one Chemical Brothers track, “herb” is a word used to denote somebody as a total cornball.
Ironically, the somebody in question often turns out to be the person using that term, since it hasn’t been in widespread usage since the Esoteric/Def Jux beef. Even then, why call someone “herb” instead of “punk-ass” or “dork” or “dickhead” or anything else with some actual venom to it? Origins point to that mid ’80s Burger King ad campaign that nobody gave a shit about, where spotting this actor playing a nerd named Herb at a BK meant you won something, like a spray-on- charcoal-tasting-ass Whopper or a bunch of money or whatever. Burger King’s got decent fries but come on. –Nate Patrin
23. Audi 5000
If you’re unfamiliar with automotive history, you might think that someone claiming to be “Audi 5000” meant that they’d be leaving in high-performance style, Alpines cranked and windows tinted. But if that’s what the phrase actually meant, you’d say something like “I’m Audi Quattro,” or maybe “I’m Audi RS 2 Avant” if it was 1994 and you were into high-performance station wagons. (People like that usually refer to them as “estates” and are overall just kind of weird.)
The 5000 was a product of Audi’s “slightly more upscale than VW” days, and there was a major design flaw that led to what is known as “sudden unintended acceleration,” or in layman’s terms, “the accelerator and brake pedals not being far enough apart and whoops what the fuck”. This means that anyone who was really Audi 5000 was caught up in the unexpected and unwanted obligation to go like hell when they’d rather stay put. This example of solid wordplay turned outdated once Audi got that whole “Truth in Engineering” thing down, and “I’m 2009 Toyota Corolla” just doesn’t have the same ring. –Nate Patrin
Project Pat, 3-6 Mafia and La Chat dedicated a special track to the most promiscuous of poultry and popularized the saying in 2001. But East Coast heads had already been delegates for years, faithfully tuning into live broadcasts from Redman’s Chickenhead Convention at Jones Beach. Nationwide. The recipe was generally the same though: combine beat knocks with “bock bocks.” Why did rappers enjoy eating the head of a hen when wings seem like smarter options. Why devote an entire convention to the avian amorousness? How much DKNY and Moschino can one woman desire? Why try to pretend like you don’t want to at least circle the perimeter? –Jimmy Ness
21. No Diggity
In my freshman year of college, I interned at a publicity company and there was a graphic artist who sat in the corner named Gordon. One day we thought it would be funny if we made Gordon’s computer say “No Diggity” every time he saved a file. So we clipped it from the Blackstreet song and set it up. His computer would go “No Diggity” five times a day and every time, we would all start laughing. He thought it was funny at first, but then it started to bother him.
One day Gordon cornered me in the bathroom on the verge of tears and asked me to make it stop. I told him I would, but I forgot. The next day, we were working and his computer went “No Diggity”. He let out a really loud, exaggerated laugh and everyone awkwardly tried to ignore him. Two months ago, I saw on Facebook that Gordon choked to death on a Spicy Chicken Burrito at Chipotle. No diggity. No doubt. Uh. –Evan Nabavian
“Skeezer,” like being trill, is an onomatopoeia — except that it’s an inherently unpleasant word. The very sound of it carries a negative connotation, with a shrill overtone for extra kick. This makes for a very effective descriptive noun. Even if you don’t know the word or you don’t know the chick, you hear “skeezer” and you know she’s nasty. It’s communication at its most primal and direct, cutting directly to the heart of things with no wiggle room.
In that sense I prefer it to something like “ratchet,” a word derived from a completely different meaning. “Skeezer” is just fun to say. The bus stop may be filled with fly honeys but it also will have skeezers. The word fits surprisingly well into the flows of some of today’s most entertaining rappers. As such, it’s prime for a comeback. Imagine a song by A$AP Rocky and SchoolBoy Q, and complete the following madlib:
Sippin syzzurp _____ _____ skeezer ____ skied up ____ spazz out ____ SKKKRRRRTTT
See, it just writes itself. –Alex Piyevsky
19. Break Yourself
Breaking oneself seems mildly terrifying. I’m not exactly sure what you’re supposed to do when somebody tells you to do that. Is it “break” as in “stop,” or as in “drop what you’re doing?” Or is it like “disintegrate into pieces”? Why does the addition of “fool” make it even more potent? Is it because you’re confusing and insulting somebody in one foul swoop? Dick.
I’m also dying to be on the other side of the equation, to put it to use in a very appropriate moment. Pulling it off it would make me feel like Omar from The Wire…or something more suitable to my physical traits, like Michael Pare in Streets Of Fire. Strolling down mean streets like an urban cowboy, swaggin’ hard with a duster and a sawed off shotgun, just telling fools to break themselves left and right… that’s how a real man rolls. Realistically, you HAVE to be a bad motherfucker to pull that one off. No sensitive 90’s beta-male light-blue-cheese-on-the-side half-assing here. You gotta do it like a boss. And then they break themselves for you, somehow, and you take their skeezers just because you can. –Alex Piyevsky
If we’re being honest, I still don’t know what “whoadie” means. Sometimes, it’s your bro and sometimes it’s your broad. Feels like the Southern guys who made this happen could have done a little bit better at defining this term that seemed to get famous because it’s very fun to say slowly. Give it a try — whoooooooooaaaaaaa-daaaaayyyyyy. I get it.
No worries though, since “whoadie” seemed to only be popular with a few crews during the early 2000s, then a couple of offshoots from then on. In the 500 years of books that Google tracks, it’s never been used once. “Whoadie” died before it could ever really live, mostly because no one really knows what it means. –Trey Kerby
I blame TLC for killing “buster.” Well, them and Vin Diesel. No offense to Big Deezy, but when he’s the one guy using the word in the 2010s, it’s pretty obvious that it’s fallen out of favor. And this is coming from the world’s biggest Vin Diesel fan.
But it’s not surprising that “buster” would lead such an incomplete life. After all, to our parents, calling someone “buster” was like calling them a “whippersnapper,” and no one says that either. So if hip-hop is trying to make an old-timey whitebread term like “buster” a reality, then they’re crazy for this one. It’s just not possible to climb that mountain.
I mean, you don’t hear Jay-Z rapping about being “snazzy” do you? –Trey Kerby
At the height of the great Jay-Z vs. Nas battle of ’01, critics claimed that the Jiggaman (remember THAT nickname?) won thanks to his use of embarrassing “facts” and “evidence.” Well, it’s 10 years later and no one gives a woo-ha about that – all we remember is the nuclear-meltdown of a hissy-fit that Nas sent back in response, commonly known as Ether. So epic was this barrage of insults, dick jokes and accusations of homosexuality that it’s since become the go-to word for describing a verbal purple-nurple of a rap battle.
“To Ether” someone means to completely dismantle them in a rap battle with no regard for petty concerns such as “logic” or “cleverness” – it’s a giant shock-n-awe display of machismo meant to scar the victim for life and leave an unmistakable blemish on his career. No wonder it came out of the Bush years. –Son Raw
Whenever I hear old heads complaining about swag, I calmly remind them that at the height of the bad boy era, they were getting flossy, wearing snorkel-equipped parkas in the club to the lyrical-lyricism of Ma$e. The deformed, malnourished cousin of “jiggy,” the term “flossy” was used to express one’s intense desire to shine while simultaneously reminding old white folks about the importance of regular dental care. Perhaps best immortalized by Juvenile’s “Flossing Season,” the term has since been relegated to the dust-bin of history, much like the bubble goose parka. Shame about the snorkels though. –Son Raw
14. Deuce Deuce
The term “deuce deuce” is deceptive. It’s hard to be afraid of a firearm that sounds like a twin-size dookie, but once upon a time the Glock 22 handgun ruled the streets of New Yawk and LA, appearing in the lyrics of such luminaries as The Notorious B.I.G, Ice Cube and…Sublime. OK, so that last one isn’t very intimidating but it goes to show the term’s reach in the pop culture world back in the days where your friendly neighborhood gangster rapper was but a humble outlaw. These days rappers walk around with semi-automatic sub-machine guns and army-caliber grenade launchers, while Kellogg’s hands these things out in cereal boxes.
Things done changed. –Sach O
On the low, the Bay Area’s hyphy scene predicted the rap revival half a decade early thanks to its mix of innovative beats, colorful slang and most importantly, a shed-load of drugs. Area legend Mac Dre’s slang for ecstasy, thizz found itself popping up in lyrics bay-wide as a generation of urban kids got turned on to the joys of acting-a-fool on MDMA, leading to some absolutely ridiculous dance-rap songs and mucho teeth-gnashing (the titular thizz face.) –Son Raw
Coined by EPMD, the bozack refers to the collective male organs as a unit (limeys call it ham and eggs). Bozack is nothing if not versatile. If you’re on the bozack, you’re a groupie, a biter. Naturally, you want girls on your bozack and biters, suckers and haters to get off it. You can also encourage said doubters to get the bozack. It’s appropriate to seize your bozack following a particularly remarkable accomplishment. You’ll feel cock diesel as Apollo Creed.-Aaron Matthews
Combining rap’s love of opposites with its love of sideways compliments and backronyms, “phat” is said to mean anything from “pretty hot and tempting” to “pussy, hips, ass, tits.” It’s mostly used for women, although inanimate objects aren’t off-limits: Nas said his Karl Kanis were phat on “Take It in Blood,” and Ghost’s Lex was phat before he crashed it in “7th Chamber.” It’s hard to say when the use of the term evaporated, but I blame Russell and Kimora Lee Simmons, whose gaudy Baby Phat brand of clothing, cell phones and costume jewelry was a fan favorite for ratchet ladies across the country for a while there. Hip-hop and clothing labels: always a terrible mix. –Craig Jenkins
“Dun” originated from a friend of Prodigy of Mobb Deep, whose speech impediment turned “son” into “dun.” The “dun” language slowly crept onto seminal records from the Mobb, Capone-n-Noreaga, and Nas and is kept in irregular linguistic rotation by East Coast rap aficionados many of whom might never hear it used outside of records. Such is the power and reach of rap, that two people’s inside joke went from local favor to music video notoriety (Peep Ben “Shout Me a Holla, Dun” Stiller in Diddy’s “Bad Boy For Life” vid) to lasting internet infamy.-Craig Jenkins
Skinz refers to either the female sanctum or females in plural. You usually hit or get the skinz, though one may also run up in said skinz. Females can freely give the skinz. Skinz’ popularity peaked from 91-’93. It became one of those words that instantly lent street cred to even the most suburban peckerwood setting. Big L and CL Smooth dedicated songs to it. Grand Puba was the greatest advocate of the term, and no one said “skinz” quite like Puba. Sorta like Lil Wayne to Bling Bling –Aaron Matthews
Def is dead. Seriously, Rick Rubin had an overly-dramatic funeral for it in the Fall of 1993 after he found out that the word had made it into the standardized dictionary and was therefore no longer cool. “Def” enjoyed its time in the limelight being a synonym for “hip” or “groovy” or whatever else your parents used to call each other while they were tripping on acid in the late 80’s and early 90’s. Erroneously, some people believe Def to stand for ‘definitive’ or ‘definitely’ but the only case of that being true is with Def Jux, who was sued by Def Jam for use of the name in 2001. The act of suing someone for using a term that you proclaimed dead 8 years ago is very Def. –Slava P
To loiter or hang out on the streets, like a lamp might do. Made famous by Public Enemy and brought to the next generation via Yeezy’s use of it in “Get Em High,” to describe the girl he’s trying to hook up with. Oddly, “Lampin” is the most popular activity enjoyed by Kanye’s current love interest. Between ‘”lampin” and the term “posting up,” my eyebrow can’t be the only one raised at the amount of pole references strewn throughout the modern hip-hop lexicon. This term is not to be confused with “cold lampin”; which is when you tap into the city’s power supply to get power for an underground performance or event or “lumping”; which is what I call it when I add sugar to my coffee. –Slava P
In the world of rap slang, no word has more variations than money. Bay legend E-40 is responsible for at least half of them. Scrilla is money, chedda, fetta, cheese. Scrilla has a pleasantly illicit sound to it and rhymes with everything, provided you drop a few syllables. Mad scrilla…that’s a lot of paper. Scrilla made it into Merriam-Webster. Scarface told us scrilla is the only way to deal with life. It’s as necessary as water. No matter how popular Skrillex gets, he will never top it. Westside Connection was wrong. Scrilla makes the world go round. -Aaron Matthews
A term of endearment for an attractive young lady with everything you want, often pluralized with the word “fine” in front. Can be extended to the even-more desirable “honeydip”. Easily abbreviated to”hon,” one step away from the more problematic “ho,” referring to a shady man or woman. In rap’s early days, this was one of the few slang words used by both militant black rappers and white-collar crackers. The first person to coin “honey” might have been horrified at the transformation the word’s undergone since its inception.
See the Black Sheep song skit “L.A.S.M.” for a definitive guide to usage. As Dres explains to a representative from Ladies Against Sexist Motherfuckers: “Honey, ho is merely short for honey. Dig? Ho is short for honey. We just got lazy and dropped the -ney.” It’s about the syllables you choose to leave out.-Aaron Matthews
You know why “Jiggy” is one of the greatest slang words ever coined? Because it not only takes you to a different decade, it takes you to a different dimension. In a jiggy world, the suits are always shiny and silver, the wigs are always a natural neon blue, the economy is indelibly Big Willie Clintonian. Will Smith was no longer the Fresh Prince, but he was no longer a Scientologist. He was a movie star, but had yet to get old and serious. It is capitalist Zen. The Prada bag will always have a lot of stuff in it. Your condo is infinite. You dance around the sarcophagus. Floor seats every game. Jiggy is the apex. We should be so lucky to get jiggy again. — Jeff Weiss
Bitch is bad unless it’s good. Lady is better, but forced. But boo? Boo is the sweet spot. Boo is the best thing you can call a woman. She isn’t your bitch. She isn’t your special lady friend. She is your boo, which connotes respect, tenderness, and sexual prowess. You can be her boo, too — if you’re lucky. Boodom is reciprocal, the rare instance when slang eradicates any trace of misogyny. There would’ve been no uproar if Lupe Fiasco had used “boo.” Sure, we would’ve laughed, but we would’ve understood.
Boodom is equal footing. Women don’t just call anyone their boo. Maybe chickenheads do, but not your boo. Your boo can be gangsta and know where them dollars at. Or she can merely be down to ride in your 2004 Volkwagon Passat. It is a versatile word, and deep down, we are all united by our desire for a boo. Boos have a deeper connection. People die. Diamonds disappear. Relationships distintegrate. But boodom is forever. –Jeff Weiss
Rap is more obsessed with authenticity than any other genre. So when Pimp C combined “true” and “real” into a single syllable, he created the ultimate slang. It lends an air of legitimacy to even the softest of the cotton candy artist, and rhymes with kill and ill. It started in Texas, but soon spread to Louisiana, soon serving as the name as the state’s best independent label of the last half dace. Trill was the flame that Bun B kept up when Pimp was locked up, and it has sustained around he passed. Artists like Curren$y, Rick Ross and ASAP Rocky have kept “trill” in the lexicon, but as it has mutated into “trillwave,” the word is already in circulation among sorority girls and frat bros. That means it’s one step away from invading your mother’s lexicon. Honor Pimp C the best way possible. Always keep it trill, but maybe stop using it to name your Tumblr. –Aaron Matthews
1. Bling Bling
I fell in love with my future wife during our second date, when we drove out to Geneva Commons to see a movie. This was back in 2007, after she’d been away in New Zealand for about a year. I knew her back in high school but we never got together until we were grownups and it was pretty chill to be out with a girl you were vibing back when you were 17. This backstory isn’t terribly important, except to explain that we were driving in her car, which she’d had forever, and found an old, old mixtape she’d had forever. We put it in, enjoyed “Juicy” and then “Bling Bling” came on and she knew every single word. I was done.
This is the most recent positive experience anyone has had with the phrase “bling bling” since the early 2000s.
No one’s going to disagree, but we all know “bling bling” is over, like so many other things about the Cash Money Millionaires. It’s a phrase that is so far removed from its zenith that MTV did a commercial about it being outdated in 2004. Yes, eight years ago, MT-flippin-V realized no one could seriously use “bling bling” anymore. When MTV is on to something, you know it’s old. When they’re on to it eight years ago, you might as well carbon date it.
That being said, my mom still says it and I love her very much. Please don’t let her read this. –Trey Kerby