It is amazing how urban culture evolves as fast as the speed of light. It’s no news that urban culture is largely influenced by the hip-hop culture so we can say we have been influenced from the guys in Cali to the guys in the ATL and not forgetting those who make the Bronx and Brooklyn their home. We had “bling-bling”, “pimping” and we also had the “izzle” phase. So what is the new thing in vogue now? What is the ‘thing’ that is defining urban culture? I don’t even need to say it... It is swag.
What exactly is swagger? Where did it originate from? Why is it one of the most widely used words in the urban dictionary today? There is Gospel Swag, Swagger Rock, Swagger Redefined even we have an article in this issue titled ‘Corporate Swag’. Ad- companies are beginning to use the word for some of their campaigns. I even saw a video on YouTube where CNN anchors were discussing President Obama’s swagger. Funny right?
According to Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary, Swagger (as a verb) is walking in an extremely proud and confident way. As a noun, it is a way of walking or behaving that seems too confident. According to blurit.com ‘The word swag has a Scandinavian origin. Swag could be used as a noun and verb. A drapery or curtain that is wrapped in an arch between two points is called swag. Festoon or decoration of flowers or fruit is also termed swag. Swag could also be an ornament. It is carved out or moulded out of some substance that could be an accessory. In slang terms, swag indicates stolen property or loot. Herbal tea that is sold as marijuana to a naive customer is also termed swag. In Australia, the word swag implies a pack that contains personal possessions of a swagman. When someone lurches or sways, he is said to be swagging. This is mainly used in the British context. Swagging is also travelling about with a luggage or swag’.
This is not the context in which the word is used today. When you hear swagger now, it has to do mainly with how a person carries himself or herself. From the way the person talks, to the looks and then to the way the person dresses. I mean it is all encompassing. Swag entered hip-hop through the likes of Cam’ron, The Diplomats and Jay Z. Soon the word has kicked off and everyone has got swagger now. Every artist, actor and even white boys too are beginning to have swagger.
Swagger is a hip-hop slang that I can say has spread around the globe like a virus. However, most people have a problem with the word because of its original meaning. So what is going to be the next hip hop slang; arrogance, conceit, bragging. LOL! I am just playing.
So this is what’s up on urban culture and we will be back with more in the next issue of YADA. Peace!