Top 40 Slang For Rap – Meaning & Usage

Rap, a genre known for its unique language and wordplay, has its own set of slang that adds flavor and depth to the music. From “bars” to “flow,” navigating the world of rap can be a challenge for newcomers. But fear not, because we’ve got you covered. In this listicle, we’ve compiled the top slang words and phrases used in rap that will have you nodding your head and spitting rhymes like a true rap aficionado. Get ready to drop some knowledge and impress your friends with your newfound rap vocabulary.

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1. Yo

This is a common slang term used in rap to greet someone or get their attention. It is often used at the beginning of a rap verse or as a way to engage with the audience during a performance.

  • For example, a rapper might start a song with, “Yo, check it out, here we go.”
  • In a rap battle, one rapper might interrupt the other with, “Yo, hold up, let me finish.”
  • A performer might hype up the crowd by saying, “Yo, make some noise!”

2. Dope

In the context of rap, “dope” is a slang term used to describe something that is considered great, cool, or impressive. It is often used to praise a rap verse, beat, or overall performance.

  • For instance, a rapper might say, “That verse was so dope, it gave me chills.”
  • In a song review, a critic might write, “The beat on this track is absolutely dope.”
  • A fan might comment on a rapper’s social media post, “Your flow is always so dope!”

3. Phat

In rap slang, “phat” is a term used to describe something that is fashionable, trendy, or impressive. It is often used to refer to a person’s style, music, or overall presence.

  • For example, a rapper might say, “I’m rocking this phat chain, check it out.”
  • In a music video, a director might aim for a “phat” visual aesthetic.
  • A fan might compliment a rapper by saying, “Your lyrics are always so phat!”

4. Fly

In the world of rap, “fly” is a slang term used to describe someone or something that is stylish, fashionable, or cool. It is often used to refer to a person’s appearance, clothing, or overall demeanor.

  • For instance, a rapper might say, “I’m stepping out in a fly outfit tonight.”
  • In a song lyric, an artist might boast, “I’m the flyest in the game, no one can touch me.”
  • A fan might comment on a rapper’s Instagram photo, “You always stay fly!”

5. Bussin

In rap slang, “bussin” is a term used to describe something that is exceptionally good, amazing, or excellent. It is often used to refer to a rap verse, beat, or overall performance that is highly impressive.

  • For example, a rapper might say, “That track is straight bussin, it’s gonna be a hit.”
  • In a concert review, a journalist might write, “The energy in the venue was electric, the performance was bussin.”
  • A fan might tweet about a rapper’s new album, “Every song on this album is bussin!”

6. Goon

In rap slang, a “goon” refers to someone who is tough, intimidating, or involved in criminal activities. The term is often used to describe a member of a rapper’s entourage or crew who is responsible for handling any conflicts or protecting the rapper.

  • For example, a rapper might say, “I roll with my goons, we ain’t afraid of nobody.”
  • In a song lyric, you might hear, “I got my goons with me, we ready for whatever.”
  • A fan might comment on a rapper’s Instagram post, “You and your goons always look so fly!”

7. Flexing

In rap slang, “flexing” refers to the act of showing off or boasting about one’s wealth, success, or accomplishments. It is often used to describe the extravagant displays of material possessions, such as expensive cars, jewelry, or designer clothes, that rappers showcase in their music and on social media.

  • For instance, a rapper might say, “I’m flexing on my haters with this new chain.”
  • In a song lyric, you might hear, “I’m flexing on ’em, they can’t handle my swag.”
  • A fan might comment on a rapper’s Instagram post, “You stay flexing, keep grinding!”

8. Homie

In rap slang, “homie” is a term used to refer to a friend or close associate. It is often used to express camaraderie, loyalty, or a sense of belonging within a group or community.

  • For example, a rapper might say, “Shout out to all my homies holding it down.”
  • In a song lyric, you might hear, “Me and my homies, we ride or die.”
  • A fan might comment on a rapper’s Instagram post, “You’re my favorite rapper, homie!”

9. Ice

In rap slang, “ice” is a term used to refer to expensive jewelry, particularly diamond jewelry. It is often used to describe the flashy and extravagant accessories that rappers wear to showcase their wealth and success.

  • For instance, a rapper might say, “I’m shining with all this ice around my neck.”
  • In a song lyric, you might hear, “I’m dripping in ice, I’m the coldest in the game.”
  • A fan might comment on a rapper’s Instagram post, “That ice is blinding, keep shining!”

10. Mane

In rap slang, “mane” is a term used to refer to a man or guy. It is often used as a friendly or casual way of addressing someone, similar to “dude” or “bro.”

  • For example, a rapper might say, “What’s up, mane? How you been?”
  • In a song lyric, you might hear, “I’m chilling with my mane, we getting money.”
  • A fan might comment on a rapper’s Instagram post, “You’re the realest, mane!”

11. Realest

In rap, “realest” is used to describe someone who is genuine, authentic, and true to themselves. It is often used to praise an artist’s authenticity and credibility.

  • For example, a fan might comment, “He’s the realest rapper out there, always staying true to his roots.”
  • In a song lyric, an artist might say, “I only roll with the realest, no fakes in my circle.”
  • During an interview, a rapper might assert, “I pride myself on being one of the realest in the game.”

12. Snitch

In rap, “snitch” refers to someone who provides information to the authorities or betrays their friends or associates. It is typically used in a negative context to criticize someone for breaking the code of loyalty.

  • For instance, in a diss track, an artist might call out another rapper, saying, “You’re just a snitch, always talking to the cops.”
  • In a song lyric, an artist might warn, “Watch out for the snitches, they’ll stab you in the back.”
  • During an interview, a rapper might explain, “In the streets, snitches are considered the lowest of the low.”

13. Lit

In rap, “lit” is used to describe something that is exciting, energetic, or excellent. It is often used to convey a positive and enthusiastic reaction to a performance, song, or event.

  • For example, a fan might comment, “That concert was so lit, the crowd was going crazy.”
  • In a song lyric, an artist might say, “I’m bringing the heat, I’m lighting up the stage, it’s about to get lit.”
  • During an interview, a rapper might express, “I always aim to create music that gets people hyped and makes them feel lit.”

14. Bars

In rap, “bars” refers to the lyrics or rhymes in a song. It is often used to praise an artist’s skill in writing and delivering clever and impactful lines.

  • For instance, a fan might comment, “He’s got the best bars in the game, his wordplay is unmatched.”
  • In a song lyric, an artist might boast, “I spit fire, my bars are hotter than the sun.”
  • During an interview, a rapper might explain, “Writing strong bars is essential in rap, it’s what sets the greats apart.”

15. Flow

In rap, “flow” refers to the rhythmic delivery and style of an artist’s rap verses. It encompasses the way the lyrics are delivered, including the rhythm, timing, and cadence.

  • For example, a fan might comment, “His flow is so smooth, he rides the beat effortlessly.”
  • In a song lyric, an artist might say, “I switch up my flow, I can adapt to any beat.”
  • During an interview, a rapper might discuss, “Developing a unique flow is crucial in rap, it helps you stand out and create your own signature style.”

16. Diss

In rap, a “diss” refers to an insult or disrespectful comment directed at someone, often in the form of lyrics. It is a common element in rap battles and is used to assert dominance or challenge another artist.

  • For example, “He dropped a sick diss track targeting his rival.”
  • In a rap battle, one artist might say, “I’m about to unleash a savage diss on you.”
  • A fan might comment on a song, “The diss in that verse was brutal.”

17. Hook

In rap, a “hook” refers to the catchy and memorable part of a song that is repeated throughout. It is usually the most memorable and melodic part of the song and helps to engage the listener and make the song more memorable.

  • For instance, “The hook in that song is so catchy, it’s stuck in my head.”
  • A rapper might say, “I’m working on a new track with a killer hook.”
  • A fan might comment, “The hook in this song is fire!”

18. Freestyle

Freestyle in rap refers to the act of improvising lyrics on the spot without prior preparation. It involves creating rhymes and flows in real-time, often in response to a beat or during a live performance.

  • For example, “He’s known for his incredible freestyle skills.”
  • A rapper might say, “I can freestyle for hours, it’s my specialty.”
  • A fan might comment, “His freestyle game is on another level!”

19. Trap house

In rap, a “trap house” refers to a location where illegal activities, particularly drug dealing, take place. The term is often used metaphorically in rap lyrics to describe a rough neighborhood or a place associated with crime and street life.

  • For instance, “He grew up in the trap house, trying to make a living.”
  • A rapper might say, “I came from the trap house, now I’m making music.”
  • A fan might comment, “This song captures the gritty reality of the trap house.”

20. Hater

In rap, a “hater” refers to someone who is envious or critical of another person’s success or talent. The term is often used to dismiss negative opinions or criticism from others.

  • For example, “Don’t pay attention to the haters, keep doing your thing.”
  • A rapper might say, “Haters gonna hate, but I’m gonna keep grinding.”
  • A fan might comment, “Ignore the haters, your music is fire!”

21. Ballin’

This term is often used to describe someone who is successful and has a lot of money. It can also refer to someone who is showing off their wealth and living a lavish lifestyle.

  • For example, a rapper might say, “I’m ballin’ like LeBron with my new mansion.”
  • In a song lyric, you might hear, “I’m ballin’ so hard, they call me MVP.”
  • A person bragging about their success might say, “I’m ballin’ out here, making moves and stacking cash.”

22. Stackin’

This term is used to describe the act of saving or making money. It refers to the action of stacking or piling up cash or other valuable assets.

  • For instance, a rapper might say, “I’m stackin’ my paper, making moves and securing my future.”
  • In a conversation about financial goals, someone might say, “I’m focused on stackin’ my money and building generational wealth.”
  • A person discussing their work ethic might say, “I’m always grindin’ and stackin’ my bread.”

23. Crib

In the context of rap slang, “crib” is a term used to refer to one’s home or residence. It is often used in a casual or familiar way.

  • For example, a rapper might say, “I’m chillin’ at my crib, sippin’ on some champagne.”
  • In a conversation about living arrangements, someone might say, “I just moved into a new crib in the city.”
  • A person describing their ideal evening might say, “I love inviting friends over to my crib for a movie night.”

24. Ride or die

This term is used to describe someone who is willing to stick by your side through thick and thin. It often refers to a person who is loyal, supportive, and always there for you.

  • For instance, a rapper might say, “She’s my ride or die, always holding me down.”
  • In a conversation about relationships, someone might say, “I need a partner who’s ride or die, someone who will support me no matter what.”
  • A person describing their best friend might say, “We’ve been ride or die since day one, always there for each other.”

25. 808

The term “808” refers to a specific type of bass sound commonly used in rap music. It is named after the Roland TR-808 drum machine, which was known for its distinctive and influential bass sounds.

  • For example, a producer might say, “I added some heavy 808s to give the track more punch.”
  • In a discussion about music production, someone might say, “The 808 is a staple in hip-hop and trap beats.”
  • A person describing their favorite rap song might say, “I love how the 808 hits hard in this track, it really bumps.”

26. Wavy

Used to describe something that is stylish, trendy, or impressive. It can also refer to a person’s overall demeanor or vibe.

  • For example, “That new track is wavy, it’s got a great beat.”
  • A rapper might say, “I’m feeling wavy tonight, ready to hit the stage.”
  • Someone might comment on a stylish outfit by saying, “You’re looking wavy in that outfit.”

27. Sauce

Refers to someone’s unique style, confidence, or charisma. It can also be used to describe something that is impressive or of high quality.

  • For instance, “He’s got so much sauce, he’s always dressed to impress.”
  • A rapper might say, “I bring the sauce to every performance, I never disappoint.”
  • Someone might compliment a person’s dance moves by saying, “You’ve got mad sauce on the dance floor.”

28. Plug

Refers to a person who has access to or can provide something, often in the context of drugs or illegal activities. It can also be used more broadly to refer to someone who has connections or can provide access to something desirable.

  • For example, “I know a guy who can hook you up, he’s my plug.”
  • A rapper might say, “I’ve got the plug for the best beats in town.”
  • Someone might ask, “Do you know a plug who can get me tickets to the concert?”

29. Fire

Used to describe something that is exceptional, outstanding, or impressive. It can refer to a rap verse, a song, a beat, or any other aspect of music that is particularly good.

  • For instance, “That new album is fire, every track is a banger.”
  • A rapper might say, “I spit fire on the mic, my flow is unstoppable.”
  • Someone might compliment a performance by saying, “You brought the fire to the stage tonight.”

30. Beatbox

The art of creating music or beats using only the mouth, lips, tongue, and voice. It involves mimicking the sounds of drums, basslines, and other musical elements using vocal techniques.

  • For example, “He’s an incredible beatboxer, he can create entire songs with just his voice.”
  • A rapper might say, “I love incorporating beatbox into my performances, it adds a unique element.”
  • Someone might be amazed by a beatboxer’s skills and say, “I can’t believe he can make those sounds with his mouth, it’s like having a full band.”

31. Chorus

In rap music, the chorus refers to a repeated section of lyrics that typically contains the main theme or message of the song. It is often catchy and memorable, and serves as a way to engage the listener and create structure within the song.

  • For example, in the song “Lose Yourself” by Eminem, the chorus goes, “You better lose yourself in the music, the moment.”
  • Another rap song with a catchy chorus is “Hotline Bling” by Drake,“Hotline Bling” by Drake, where he sings, “You used to call me on my cellphone.”
  • A rap artist might say, “I’m working on a new track and I’m still trying to come up with a catchy chorus.”

32. Spit

To “spit” in rap slang means to perform or deliver a rap verse or freestyle. It refers to the act of rapping, which involves rhythmically speaking lyrics over a beat.

  • For instance, a rapper might say, “I’m about to spit some fire on this track.”
  • During a rap battle, one artist might challenge the other by saying, “Let’s see what you got, spit your best lines.”
  • A fan of rap music might comment, “This rapper can really spit, their flow is on point.”

33. Wordplay

Wordplay in rap refers to the use of clever and creative language techniques, such as puns, double entendres, and metaphors, to create interesting and impactful lyrics. It adds depth and complexity to the rap verses, and showcases the artist’s skill in manipulating words.

  • For example, in the song “Lose Yourself” by Eminem, he uses wordplay when he raps, “His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy.”
  • Another example of wordplay is in the song “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z,“Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z, where he raps, “Concrete jungle where dreams are made of.”
  • A rap enthusiast might say, “I love how this rapper incorporates wordplay into their lyrics, it makes their music so much more enjoyable.”

34. Cypher session

A cypher session in rap culture refers to a gathering of rappers who take turns freestyling or improvising rap verses in a circle. It is a collaborative and competitive environment where rappers showcase their skills, creativity, and ability to think on their feet.

  • For instance, a rapper might say, “I’m going to a cypher session tonight, it’s a great opportunity to network and improve my rap skills.”
  • During a cypher session, one rapper might challenge another by saying, “Your turn, let’s see what you got.”
  • A fan of rap might comment, “The energy in that cypher session was insane, so many talented rappers in one place.”

35. Mic controller

A mic controller in rap slang refers to a rap artist who has excellent stage presence and control over the microphone. It describes someone who knows how to engage the audience, deliver their lyrics with clarity and confidence, and command attention during live performances.

  • For example, a fan might say, “Jay-Z is a true mic controller, he knows how to work the crowd and keep everyone entertained.”
  • During a rap concert, the host might introduce the artist as a “master mic controller.”
  • A rap artist might say, “Being a mic controller is an important aspect of my craft, I want to give my fans a memorable and engaging performance.”

36. Ad-lib

An ad-lib refers to a spontaneous vocalization or sound made by a rapper during a performance or recording. Ad-libs are often used to add emphasis, fill gaps, or enhance the overall delivery of a rap verse.

  • For example, in the song “Bad and Boujee” by Migos, the ad-lib “skrrt skrrt” is repeated throughout the track.
  • Another popular ad-lib is the “yeah” used by Lil Jon in many of his songs.
  • A rapper might ad-lib a phrase like “uh-huh” or “yeah,“uh-huh” or “yeah, yeah” to add energy to their verse.
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37. Punchline

A punchline is a clever and impactful line in a rap verse that is intended to impress or entertain the listener. Punchlines often involve wordplay, metaphors, or witty comparisons.

  • For instance, in the song “Lose Yourself” by Eminem, he raps, “His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy / There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti” as a memorable punchline.
  • Another example is from Jay-Z’s song “99 Problems,“99 Problems,” where he raps, “I got 99 problems, but a [expletive] ain’t one.”
  • A rapper might use a punchline like “I’m on fire,“I’m on fire, call me the arsonist” to showcase their lyrical skill.

38. Cypher circle

A cypher circle refers to a group freestyle session in which rappers take turns showcasing their improvisational skills. The term “cypher” originated in hip-hop culture and is often used to describe a gathering of rappers, dancers, or artists engaging in creative expression.

  • For example, during a cypher circle, one rapper might start by freestyling a verse, then pass the mic to the next person.
  • A rap battle might evolve from a cypher circle, with rappers competing against each other to showcase their lyrical prowess.
  • In a cypher circle, rappers often feed off each other’s energy and try to outdo one another with their verses.

39. Remix

A remix is an altered version of a song that features changes to the original production, arrangement, or vocals. In rap, remixes often involve adding new verses or guest features to an existing track.

  • For instance, the remix of the song “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X features Billy Ray Cyrus.
  • Another example is the remix of the song “Hotline Bling” by Drake,“Hotline Bling” by Drake, which features a verse from rapper Erykah Badu.
  • A rapper might release a remix of their own song to give it a fresh twist or collaborate with other artists.
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40. Battle rap

Battle rap is a form of competitive rap performance in which two or more rappers engage in a lyrical contest. The goal is to outwit and outperform the opponent with clever wordplay, insults, and punchlines.

  • For example, the TV show “8 Mile” depicts battle rap competitions in which Eminem’s character engages in intense rap battles.
  • A battle rap might involve freestyling or pre-written verses, depending on the format.
  • In battle rap, rappers often aim to dismantle their opponent’s credibility and showcase their own lyrical prowess.