As mentioned in part 1 of our Hip Hop Slang Dictionary, hip hop music’s dictionary uses a variety of slang terms that have changed as hip hop itself has changed over the years. Today we are doing a lyrical breakdown of US rap slang.

East Coast rap

East Coast rap is most famous for its NYC origins. US rap slang as we know it was born in the South Bronx and developed from Queens to Virginia Beach.

jiggy – fly or cool and originated in NYC, specifically Harlem.

Let outsiders violate our blocks and my plot
Let’s take the dough and stay real jiggy, uh-huh

Jay-Z, “Hard Knock Life”

represent – means from or exemplifying, and it originated in NYC, specifically Brooklyn.

Biggie Smalls, who you represent?
The Brooklyn clique
Where the boots is tied tight, and the jackets is thick

The Notorious B.I.G., “Jeans and Snickers”

jawn – or joint are all-purpose nouns originating in Philadelphia.

And everybody knows that I’m golden brown
And you know…
[Drum roll…] SHE’S THE JOINT!

Funky 4+1, “That’s the Joint”
  • mad – usually used to describe a large quantity or high quality, something that was really good or abundant
  • beat – something that’s over or done with, something that sucks
  • boge – cigarette
  • musty – something that’s dirty
  • busted – something that is lame or poor quality, often used to describe a person’s appearance
  • mint – something of high quality, another word for fresh
  • bumblefuck – the middle of nowhere, aka anywhere west of Philly

West Coast rap

Rap may have started in New York, but California taught it how to chill out and slow down. And, there’s no definitive answer to whether LA’s rap terminology is more innovative than the Bay Area’s (Snoop Dogg and E-40), and the debate ain’t pretty.

gouda – money and it originated in Vallejo.

Ten wraps and a rubber band
(Gouda)
Three or four more in my other hand
(Gouda)

E-40, “Gouda”

beotch – an insulting or incredulous address, often aimed at a woman, and it originated in Oakland.

I’ll call her a beotch!…
Beotch!…
Call her a beotch!…
Beotch!…

Too $hort, “Call Her a Bitch”

ghostride the whip – to let a car drive itself, and it originated in Vallejo.

When I say something you say it right back to me, you smell me?
We’re gonna do it like this right here
Ghostride the whip, ghostride the whip
Ghostride the whip, ghostride the whip

E-40, “Tell Me When to Go”
  • whip – car
  • stunting – showing off or posing for attention
  • swag – gear, usually won or acquired for free
  • aight – alright
  • yadadamean – super quick, easy way of asking “Do you know what I mean?”

Southern rap

The South is often referred to as the “dirty South” or the “third coast” of rap. Yet, it – specifically Houston, Memphis, Atlanta, and New Orleans – has some of the richest and most prolific online record-keeping of their regional terms. Considering that Southern hip hop is a relatively recent genre compared to the Coasts, their library of slang is pretty impressive.

crunk – crazy or drunk, and it originated in Atlanta and Memphis.

She getting crunk in the club I mean she work
Then I like to see the female twerking taking the clothes off BUCKEY naked

Ying Yang Twins, “Get Low”

flossin’ – to show off and originated in Houston.

What you know about acting bad, flossin’ prowlers
I got seven dvd’s I’m watchin’ Austin Powers

Lil’ Flip, “Texas Boyz (Screwed)”

lean – a type of sizzurp (a Sprite-codine-candy mixture) or the effects of heavy inebriation, originated in Houston.

So just pour it in my drink and ima sip until I lean hard
Drink got me moving slower than a retard

Lil Jon, “Me and My Drank”
  • trap house – a house where drugs are sold and it originated in Atlanta.
  • ratchet – crazy or off-the-hook, often used to refer to a woman, originated in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
  • woes – a spin on “whoadie”, meaning “Working On Excellence.
  • natnat – a promiscuous woman whom’s sexual affairs are common knowledge.
  • Yeene-enno – shorter, quicker way of saying “You didn’t even know”.

Midwest rap

The Midwest, which encompasses songs celebrating the toughest aspects of gang life and the softer backpack rap of the Twin Cities, is quite diverse. That’s because we’re including everything that’s not the South, Eastern Seaboard, and Cali – which admittedly tends to be Chicago-dominated. Here’s the US rap slang from the Midwest.

juke – to trick or steal or to grind, originated in Chicago

Back it up like, juke juke
Three, four, juke juke

Chance the Rapper, “Juke Juke”

thot – means that hover there and originated in Chicago

Okay you got me
I don’t love no thotties

Chief Keef, “Love No Thotties”

woo dis – means so on and so forth and it originated in Chicago

They was talking “woo woo this woo wap da bam”
City so damn great, I feel like Alexand’

Chance the Rapper, “Angels”
  • stan – means an obsessive fan and originated in Detroit.
  • juggalo – or jugalette means an avid Insane Clown Posse fan (male or female), originated in Detroit.
  • grinding – study hard.
  • homey – close friend.
  • chase cheese – express sympathy over a petty matter.
  • cockamamey – ridicilous.
  • zany – funny.

Thanks for taking the time to read our blog post on US rap slang. Make sure to check out Dreadpen’s Divine – Winter 2020 collection 🙂

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