Here’s Memorable Hip-Hop Slang From the 1990s to Never Forget
Even if rap fans' formative years weren't in the 1990s, the slang popularized during that era is still alive and well—especially in hip-hop. So, whether someone's the age of 17 or 37, words such as "dope," "bling" and "boo" are very much a part of the daily lexicon.
Some of the terms’ origins are harder to trace than others, but it's unanimously agreed E-40 and Mac Dre introduced "thizz" to the Bay Area, while Beastie Boys conjured up "def" as a way to pay tribute to their former label, Def Jam Recordings, in the late 1980s (although they weren't necessarily the first to use it). "Ill," another commonly used word among rappers, was consistently thrown around by Run-DMC in the 1980s, but never quite dissipated, leading to a legion of artists to employ the term in their music in the 1990s. Same goes for "hella," which was popularized by Oakland hip-hop collective Hieroglyphics.
Over the years, some of these terms have definitely faded into obscurity. There's not too many people describing someone as being "all that and a bag of chips" or shouting "Let's get crunk" as they enter the club. And unless there's an auntie out there who's constantly trying to up her cool factor, "da bomb" isn't heard too often either. Either way, 1990's slang is embedded in hip-hop culture. As 50 years of hip-hop continues to be celebrated this year, XXL highlights 40 of the best 1990's slang words—"dope" or not.