The Green Label Rap-Acronym Dictionary

Papoose’s “Alphabetical Slaughter” taught you the ABC’s. Now, Green Label is here to teach you the ABC’s of rap acronyms. Did you know that “M.O.P.” stands for “Make Out Posse,” because Lil’ Fame and Billy Danze began as a new jack swing group? Okay, that’s not true. But, did you know that “EPMD” stands for “Every Peach is Moldy, Damn!” because Erick Sermon had a series of frustrating trips to his neighborhood grocer? That’s not true either. Here are some acronyms we didn’t make up.

A$AP Mob

A collective of rap-related guys whose dedication to “always strive and prosper” manifested through all-black outfits, and who could, from memory, recreate the “2 Way Freak” video scene-for-scene if you asked nicely. A$AP’s Rocky and Ferg are the undisputed bosses of the Mob.

B.I.G., Notorious

Plus-sized Coogi sweater enthusiast who generously included Puff Daddy in his activities. Arguably the greatest rapper of all-time. You shouldn’t need to look this one up.

B.G.

Original Hot Boys member “Baby Gangsta” was deeply committed to living what he rapped about, which Cash Money in-house producer Mannie Fresh was terrified to learn. Addiction and general scofflaw behavior landed him in prison, for which he’s serving 14 years.

CB4

A fictional prison cell block which spawned even faker gangster rappers MC Gusto (Chris Rock), Dead Mike (Allen Payne), and a DJ, Stab Master Arson (Deezer D). The 1993 film wasn’t much of a hit at the time, but has since become a cult classic. Also features Charlie Murphy, Chris Elliott, comedy legend Phil Hartman, and a host of rappers including Ice Cube, Eazy-E, and Flavor Flav.

D.I.T.C.

Big L, Diamond D, Showbiz & A.G., Lord Finesse, Fat Joe, O.C., and Buckwild made up the Diggin’ In the Crates Crew. Only a single album as a complete collective; the self-titled D.I.T.C., released in February 2000, included a tribute song (aptly titled “Tribute”) to the late Big L. D.I.T.C. is a “who’s who” of ’90s rap producers: DJ Premier, Lord Finesse, Buckwild, Showbiz, Diamond D, plus a remix from Rockwilder. Every 35 year-old New Yorker who owns a Carhartt jacket enjoys this album. All of them.

DMX

Originally a reference to the Oberheim DMX drum machine, it became a backronym for “Dark Man X.” The second rapper to release two Platinum albums in the same year, It’s Dark and Hell Is Hot and Flesh Of My Flesh, Blood Of My Blood.

EPMD

Erick Sermon and Parrish Smithmaking dollars, more specifically. Stars in the late ’80s and early ’90s who broke up for rumored “in house” reasons.

F.L. Studio

Lex Luger, 9th Wonder, Hit-Boy, DJ Mustard, Young Chop, Sonny Digital, and Mike Will Made It are all avowed users of the oft-bootlegged digital audio workstation more fully known as FruityLoops Studio.

Goodie MOB

According to Big Gipp, Khujo, T-Mo, and Cee-Lo, the “good-die mostly over BS.” Their debut, Soul Food, is an underrated classic.

H.E.R.

“I Used To Love H.E.R.,” (“hearing everything rhyme”) by Common Sense, was anything but. A childhood crush’s maturation is an extended metaphor for hip-hop, which Common saw as being degraded by the West Coast. Westside Connection responded with “Westside Slaughterhouse.”

ICP

Physics scholars the Insane Clown Posse went deep undercover as rappers, researching the facepaint-loving citizens of the Upper Midwest.

J.J. Fad

Ruthless Records’ first female rap group was originally a quintet comprised of Juana Burns (MC J.B.), Juanita Lee (Crazy J), Fatima Shaheed (O.G. Rocker), Anna Cash (Lady Anna), and Dania Birks (Baby-D). The acronym stood for all of their first names, until departures left Burns and Birks as the sole members. Thus, “J.J. Fad” became a backronym for “Just Jammin’ Fresh and Def.” Their only hit, “Supersonic,” was nominated for a Grammy in the Best Rap Performance category in 1989, and provided a vocal sample for MF Doom, who was in…

KMD

…aka Kausin’ Much Damage. MF Doom, then known as Zev Love X, teamed up with brother, DJ Subroc, and Onyx The Birthstone Kid (who replaced Rodan) to form the group. The trio’s first record, Mr. Hood, was an underground hit. In the same week, Subroc was tragically killed while trying to cross the Long Island Expressway.

LL Cool J

This prodigious lip-licker and star of NCIS: Los Angeles was, once upon a time, a rapper known for-long as “Ladies Love Cool James.” He had beef with Kool Moe Dee, and, in the midst of his rival’s live performance in St. Louis, strutted across the stage, and blew kisses to the crowd. Kool Moe Dee eventually located him in the crowd, placed a spotlight on him, and challenged him to a battle. The offer was declined, so Kool Moe Dee performed a diss track directed at the rapper, “Let’s Go,” and, after finishing, slammed the microphone down.

M.O.P.

The Mash Out Posse are Billy Danze and Lil’ Fame of Brownsville, Brooklyn. Rumor has it their 2000 hit “Ante Up” is thought to have been directly responsible for a spike in armed robberies in New York City.

N.E.R.D.

Shae Haley, Chad Hugo, and Pharrell Williams are the group otherwise known as No-One Ever Really Dies. Debut album, In Search Of…, was named after a Leonard Nimoy-hosted television series about mysterious phenomena

N.W.A.

The most famous, if gingerly mentioned, acronym in rap, especially after this summer’s blockbuster Straight Outta Compton, which made F. Gary Gray the highest-grossing black director of all time.

O.C.

Omar Credle is a Bushwick-bred rapper and member of D.I.T.C. signed by MC Serch (3rd Bass) to Wild Pitch Records after an appearance on the remix for Serch’s “Back To The Grill” alongside Chubb Rock, Red Hot Lover Tone, and a little-known rapper called Nasty Nas. First album Word…Life is undeniably great.

P.L.O. (Palestinian Liberation Organization) Style

Track from Method Man’s Tical.

Q.U.–Hectic

Mobb Deep album cut in which the QU is short for “Queensbridge,” which the crew was notorious for representing.

R.A.P. (Rebellious African People) Music

Killer Mike solo album, produced by El-P. Entirely redirected the careers of both, who formally founded Run the Jewels the follow year.

S.L.A.B.

Specific to Houston car culture, fans of southern rap know it stands for “slow, loud, and bangin’.” Slabs are older-model sedans customized with glossy (“candy”) paint, plush interiors, and “swangers” (also known as “elbows” or “pokes”), or spoked rims that came with 1983 and 1984 Cadillacs. Typically, the Southside’s Third Ward rides candy red, the Fifth Ward candy green, and the Northside rides candy blue.

T.L.C.

Multi-Platinum-selling R&B and rap group who won 15 Grammys between 1993 and 2004, named after members Tionne, Lisa, Crystal/T-Boz/Left Eye/Chili; original member Crystal Jones was replaced in 1991 by Rozonda Thomas, nicknamed “Chili.”

T.R.O.Y.

For long as “They Reminisce Over You,” this is the Pete Rock & CL Smooth tribute to then recently-deceased Troy “Trouble T Roy” Dixon, a close friend and dancer for Heavy D and the Boyz. Iconic instrumental built around saxophonist Tom Scott’s cover of Jefferson Airplane song “Today.”

U.N.

When Roc Marciano, Dino Brave, Mike Raw, and Laku released UN Or U Out on Carson Daly’s (!) 456 Entertainment. It landed with a resounding thud. Roc Marciano, who had already been part of Busta Rhymes’ Flipmode Squad, would go on to solo acclaim and prolific Yankees fitted cap purchases.

V.I.C.

Atlanta rapper who made “Get Silly,” featuring Soulja Boy. The song was, indeed, quite silly.

W.C.

Stands for: William Calhoun, a South Central rapper who’s not only released four solo albums, but has been in three different groups: Low Profile (with DJ Aladdin), WC and the Maad Circle (which included Coolio and Sir Jinx, who was in C.I.A. with Ice Cube), and Westside Connection (…which actually had Ice Cube and Mack 10).

XXL

Rap magazine which incites widespread argument with its yearly “Freshmen” lists. List normally includes two or three industry plants, two rappers over 30 years old (“Freshman” is relative), a Southern rapper signed to a major label who is destined to get shelved, a couple people who can actually rap, and a rapper who’s “Bringing New York Back.”

YG

Young Gangster was a star in the city’s Jerk scene in the late-2000’s before being incarcerated for burglary. Debut album, My Krazy Life, reinvented g-funk.

Z-Ro

Houston rapper and the number of rap acronyms that begin with “Z.”

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