Phrase of the Day Special!
We haven’t done a Phrase of the Day in a while, so we decided to scrap the needle and give you the whole haystack.
Do you know what Eight ball means? What about Packin’ a nine, On the strength, What’s the 4-1-1? Round the way girl, Forty dog, Trey pound, or Five on it?
If not, then you may have to refer to one or more encyclopedias of ebonics. Let us introduce you to two books that attempt to give standard definitions of these words and phrases used in black American (and some jamaican) slang.
Fab Five Freddy’s Fresh Fly Flavor and Alonzo Westbrook’s The Hiphoptionary deal with the vernacular English of the street. The hiphop tongue that has lashed its way round the globe in record time, many words and ghetto phrases that are now universally used in regular everyday speak. Nowadays, Caucasians almost speak more hiphop tongue than blacks.
The hiphop tongue that has derived from decades of MCs, players, hustlers, DJs, thugs, drug dealers, gangsters, party people, street kids, dancers, and pimps, has turned the Oxford Illustrated on its head.
So-called EBONICS from the streets of NYC, to the garrisons of Kingston, Jamaica, to the Roadman of London – always brings something new to the table.
Hiphop legend Fab Five Freddy was so ahead of the game with his book Fresh Fly Flavor, that some of the words are now defunct and probably have more connection to the trailer park, than to hiphop lingo. This early 90′s book gave simple meanings behind words and phrases fundamental in the hiphop lingo of the of the 80′s and early 90′s, from old school phrases like Aint no half steppin‘, Bum rush, Gang bangin‘, to word’s like dime, bogart, and fess.
Fab Five’s book breaks down those words we know and love, for example; crib is a home, a bid is a jail sentence, to cop is to buy something, but to cop a plea means to beg for forgiveness in a bad situation, and one of the most used in hiphop, Wack described in the book as not good or not acceptable.
The Hiphoptionary (written by Alonzo Westbrook) on the other hand, like’s to appear as a much more serious look at the art of ebonics, taking us from A to Z digging through every facet of the hiphop language, in fact some words and phrases it covers are quite obscure and struggle to fit into the hiphop language.
The Hiphoptionary defines those words you may of heard in an MC’S rhyme and hasd no idea what it meant. It also covers words that are common place in internet speak, such as Holla, now used on a daily basis by everyone and anyone on your emails your twitter’s and facebook’s.
The Hiphoptionary has adopted phrases such as Hold it down which started out as Jamaican slang, as well as many other Jamaican Patois originated phrases. Some definitions are certainly questionable as being hiphop – like Yardie gangs, meaning London based Jamaican street gangs.
The idea of Hiphoptionary and Fresh Fly Flavor may leave the cynics sneering, a quick flip through may leave one slightly amused and possibly unsatisfied. While Fab Five Freddy’s book does not take it self too seriously, the Hiphoptionary appears to put things that black people say under the microscope and at times gets it twisted, to use a modern day ebonic. Overall, they provide an interesting look at two different peoples views of hiphop word play. The super hybrid vernacular used by literally millions of people worldwide today.
In no particular order, here are some highlights from the Hiphoptionary and Fresh Fly Flavor.
Yack town - Pontiac, Michigan
Spot – a place to hang out
stankin - rude behavior
Rotton Apple - Harlem New York
Rilla - the truth
Pound – a fist to fist greeting
Shaolin - Staton Island New York
Peace out – said upon departure ‘good bye’
Kicks – shoes
Hood – neighbourhood
Trees - marijuana
FRESH FLY FLAVOR
Baby pop – one of the guys
Beef - a disagreement with someone that is usually on the verge of getting violent
Dog - to treat badly
Fell off – a person who is no longer involved or doing well, as in a rapper who has started smoking crack and making poor records, ‘he fell off’
Five O- police
Peeped it – saw it
Jet – to leave
Living foul – negative ways and life style
On the strength - to really mean it
Perpetrate - to profess to be what you aren’t