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On Da Lingo

Tracing Houston roots in three omnipresent hip-hop terms


No doubt many of the hotties on those Pen and Pixel covers could be described as bootylicious. As defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, which has also immortalized this word, bootylicious describes a woman with a perfect ass and, by extension, other voluptuous curves. Since everyone knows this from the Destiny's Child smash of the same name, most would assume this word the most likely to be of H-town provenance. In fact, it's the least likely.

While there's no doubt that Beyoncé and company put the word in the OED, its use can be documented much earlier, and in a different meaning. In 1992, on Dr. Dre's The Chronic, Snoop Dogg dissed a rapper with these lines on "Fuck Wit Dre Day": "Your bark was loud, but your bite wasn't vicious / And them rhymes you were kickin were quite bootylicious." Snoop meant, of course, that the rapper's rhymes stank like a booty, and through the 1990s bootylicious carried a negative connotation in the hip-hop world. But people were adding the "-licious" suffix on to words for a long time before that, and it has always connoted deliciousness. (Think of the old Dairy Queen "scrumpdilly-icious" ad campaign.) Since that's so, it's no surprise that bootylicious would win acceptance as defining something mouthwatering, not something stinky.

Commemorative Music Stamps in Hell, Part 1
Commemorative Music Stamps in Hell, Part 1

The "-licious" suffix is one of those appendages, like "-delic," "-tacular" or "-gate" that you can tack on to just about any word, including bling or crunk. "Man," you could say, "that Lil' Flip show was crunkadelic. The peeps there were blingtacular."

And as we close, it must be noted that Crunkadelic is a blingtacular band name. Got some hip-hop lingo you want researched? Write to john.lomax@houstonpress.com.>

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