The hip-hop world is a less than sensible place - lots of times, you're even required to clarify when bad means bad and when bad means good - so once a week we're going to get with a rapper and ask them to explain things. Something you always wanted to ask a rapper? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ask A Rapper: This whole "swag" thing, it's pretty much infiltrated all of rap. For those of us who may be lacking it, can you explain exactly what swag is?" PKT: In all essence, swag is nothing more than a word used to describe one's personal style. For old-school hip-hop heads, "swag" is the new "fresh."
AAR: In a bunch of your songs, you reference a peculiar species of aves called "Swaggerbirds." What is a swaggerbird? We don't remember learning about that in biology. We want to say that the first time we heard "swag" being used was by Gilbert Arenas about two or three years ago. That means that, in all likelihood, the term should be nearing the end of its hipness. When do you think it will no longer be acceptable to rap about it? Like, when will it reach "Raise The Roof" levels of hateability?
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PKT: [laughs] Basically, you and I are on the same mental plateau. I've been using the word swagger for about three years and when it played out to me I started using the throwback "fly." Then all of a sudden that began to resurface as well, so I basically combined the two. I felt as though my personal demeanor was the pinnacle of fly, and since nothing is flyer than a bird with it's swag to the max, we started the term "Swaggerbirds."[laughs] As of now, I think the word has been severely overused and hence has both reached and surpassed the "played out" status.
But to be honest, I don't blame it on the word; I blame it on the industry turning it into a fad. Too many guys talked about having swag when at the end of the day they were carbon copies of some other artist rendering the word meaningless. [They] took all the personality out of it. AAR: More to that last point, what do you think the next big catch phrase will be? From what we can gather, the term will have to be short and poignant and highly susceptible to variations of its original form. Perhaps we can start a new one now? Let's try and convince everyone that the new fly thing to say is "wave." What say you? PKT: The homies Max B. and Jim Jones tried the whole "wavy" thing ,but it hasn't quite caught on yet; it takes a hit song to create a new term! [laughs] For me, I think it's out with the new and in with the old. For 2010, I'm gonna be "dapper" again [laughs]. AAR: Dang. Forget about "wavy." Really though, "wave" is totally different. How about in your next song you use the following for a hook:
"Look at my wave, it's so atrocious, Supercalifragilistic Expialidocious"
And then you just keep saying it over and over again. Hot shit, right? That took, like, 35 seconds to come up with. PKT: Sadly enough, that will be the hit that will make "wave" be what's next! I'll give you some publishing credits when I release my new single. Follow PKT on Twitter as he spawns the wave phenomenon at @misterpkt.