Mistletoe & Urban Style

This is the time of year for mistletoe and Christmas Trees, Christamukkah candles and Black cake. (Not cake for black people, but West Indian Black cake made with fruit that has been soaking in rum or brandy for a hella long time). And for me, its also the time of year for approving changes on copyedited manuscripts. I always seem to get mine back around the end of the year. This is the point in the process by which a manuscript becomes a book where an editor corrects typos and grammatical errors and asks the writer to clarify what they don't understand. A few times this year I found myself laughing out loud at the copyeditor's queries. I realized that just because a person lives in a major metropolis such as such as New York, it does not guarantee that they will always understand the urban lingo or even venture outside of their homes to mix with the local folk. Or maybe understanding the lingo is like dancing to popular music. Once you reach a certain age that hip gene just turns off and everyone develops a Wonderbread vocabulary and starts doing that funny two step. You know what I mean.
A few of my characters in my 2006 book speak a more urban vernacular than that of my earlier characters. On reviewing my edits, it quickly became obvious that my characters MUST have been speaking another language, so I decided to develop what I am calling an "Urban Style Guide" to help with the translation. I have to admit I consulted a few online sources like the hip-hop dictionary, and to make sure that the guide was thorough, I asked my 25 year old SINGLE niece to add any terms that I might have missed. Thankfully, she obliged me.

Did I say she was SINGLE and in the B'more metropolitan area?

And she has a JOB.

Anyway, here 'tis. Please note that there are probably regional variations. This is a Tex-York-imore Mix. (Texas, New York, Baltimore). And it is obviously for entertainment purposes only.

  1. Don’t sleep- colloquialism for, be aware or don’t be fooled, another way to say Please heed my friendly warning and not ignore this that I bring to your attention. It is unequivocally relevant.
  1. “Cousin Ray-Ray anem” - “All of those people that come out of the woodwork and claim to be related to you when you do well.” Usally one will not have ever laid eyes on these people before.
  1. Perpetrated - “Acting like we knew what we were doing when we really had no clue whatsoever.”

  1. Ma-No-Nos – Fake designer shoes of any kind. This includes shoes purchased on E-bay designed to look like Manolo’s, Jimmy Choos, etc.

  1. Badunkadunk –That which you back up. Traditionally, only sisters have these but in this time of implants you might see on on women of other ethnic groups. A big behind, the way brothers like them. Jennifer Lopez made them famous and Beyonce made them desirable.

  1. bamma - Person who is fashion challenged. A loser. Someone from the country, backwards, unsophisticated. "You a bamma for wearin' them shoes." Note that people from the city can be bammas for sheezie.

  1. Hollaback Girl- A female who answers booty calls (also known as late night, last minute calls requesting sex) Used by Gwen Stefanie.

  1. hoodrat –a.)Female, generally sexually promiscuous, and not upwardly mobile. See number seven.

b) a girl who embodies everything of the hood. Ghetto, loud, dresses
to the nines but lives in the projects, tries to date only ballers.

  1. mami -also: ma, mam, mama. A young woman (commonly used in second person) . An archetype of a strong black woman. (Jay-Z, 2000, Get your Mind right, mami)
  2. Papi- male version of number 9

  1. What up?- Another way to say "Hello, what's new?". AKA Whatzzz up (this
    isn't cool anymore)

  1. knuck if you buck – Translates as “bring it”, or If you think you are bad enough to stand the ass-whipping, you can speak the offensive material that you were saying before in my presence so that I may fight with you.
  1. boughie – derivative of the bourgeois. Bourgeois is "Preoccupied with respectability and material values" according to Webster's College II dictionary. The term refers to a social group in Marxist theory opposed to the proletariat (the poor common people) in the class struggle. A boughie person acts as if they are a part of the ruling class, rich, even if they aren't. In other words: stuck up, too good for something, materialistic.
  1. whodi - Used to address someone as a friend, as in "What is going on, buddy?” but waaay cooler. Pronounced “WO-day.” Used like "homey", "money", "playa" or "dogg".
  1. Ghetto rich- some one who lives in the ‘hood (ghetto, poor neighborhood) but has the best of everything, usually name brand cars clothes jewelry.
  1. Ballers- the top guys with a lot of money, fame (may it be only in the
    hood or not), the nice car, the house, dresses to impress. The one all
    of the girls want. AKA number one stunner, big boy, moneybags, pimp,
    big pimpin- a baller who has all of the girls, some are his
    girlfriend(s)and some are pieces on the side(see 26).
  1. Shorty- a term usually said by a males referring to any female.
  1. Slim- a term usually said by a males referring to any guy.
  1. Shim- a gay female who looks, acts, and/or can pass for a man.
  1. He she- a gay man who acts, imitates a women.
  1. DL- a man who has quiet sexual relationships with other men outside of
    their Normal lives. Usually the man is married or dating a women, she or
    anyone else in their lives doesn't know about the same sex partners.
  2. Gurl- a term used by females to describe or talk to your female friends.
  3. Namean- Do you know what I mean?
  4. Grill- Jeweled and precious metal false teeth usually either platinum
    and diamond or gold and diamond.
  5. Na- Implies the negative. No, usually used by a guy.
  6. piece on the side- A girl with which a man in a committed relationship is
    having an affair. Mistress. Often a booty call or hollaback girl.
  7. Dime piece- a cute girl
  8. Fuine- (Pronounced Fu-wine) a really really good looking drop dead gorgeous man. See Boris Kudjoe.
  9. churn- children
  10. parental units- your parents
  11. da- the
  12. ight- alright

Now. That makes it easier doesn't it? Na'mean? I'm out, wodi. Fa-sheezie.


Anonymous said…
Word Dime Piece,

I recently had to educate some people of non-color at my workplace (it was Chad, Leslie, Becky, 'nem), and while they listen to way more hip-hop than I do (always wondered why they have more 20" spinners and trunk-filled speakers in Westlake than in East Austin na'mean, but that's another story), they definitely didn't know what the words they repeat meant.

Thanks for this resource I can share with others.

Peace shorty,
Anonymous said…
Share with others? I'm a gonna keep this for myself. I thought I was down, but I see I'm just gittin' ol.

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