So this is a fact – In Hip-Hop, money is the number one commodity that makes the world go round. It’s probably fair to venture that upwards of 90% of all rap songs revolve around the subject matter of money or the lavish luxuries that money can buy. In this list, let’s take a look at the myriad of slang terms that are used to describe money in Hip-Hop.
This is an especially popular one lately since the recent hit song from the rapper Juicy J “Bands A Make Her Dance” produced by the prolific beat maker, Mike Will Made It. The “Bands” here refer to the rubber bands that are used to corral large stacks of dollar bills. The term “Bands” was also made popular in the 2003 single “Rubberband Man” by Atlanta rapper, T.I.
The origin of this one is quite literal. The term “Dead Presidents” for money refers to the images of iconic, deceased American presidents on the almighty dollar bill. It was used prominently in the Nas single “The World Is Yours” when he rapped the line – “I’m looking for Dead Presidents to represent Me.” Mogul rapper Jay-Z actual used the exact Nas sample when he released his debut single, “Dead Presidents” from his classic Reasonable Doubt album. Another popular variation of this term is “Benjamins” – which refers to President Benjamin Franklin on the $100 dollar bill.
This is another popular slang word for money, but the origins of this one are not so clear. Popular rappers like Busta Rhymes from NYC and Chief Keef from Chicago in particular love to use this word. Chief Keef actually has a pretty popular song called “In Love with Gwop.” This term shouldn’t be confused with another slang money word “Guac” – which is also used. The latter is actually an abbreviation of guacamole.
This is an interesting one – because it is actually derived from another urban slang word “stack” which refers to a money bundle of a thousand dollars. The reasoning behind “Racks” is that when you have so many stacks, you are really ballin’ out of control, and the stacks evolve into racks, packed on top of each other. This term was made extremely popular by the single by rapper YC featuring Future titled “Racks on Racks” that actually had its own dance – (see above).
This is a slang terminology for money that originates from the Oakland, Bay Area of California. It’s actually a favorite of the legendary rapper E-40 who is widely recognized as one of the foremost originators of slang words in the rap industry. The word “fetti” is rumored to have originated from the Spanish word for money “feria.” One thing is for certain; when you visit the Bay Area, you’ll hear this slang word used a whole lot. Its origins may also be an abbreviation of the word “confetti” – another thing that rappers love (see above).
The rap slang professor E-40 from the Bay Area has already appeared on this list. Another one of his magnificent slang creations is the word “Scrilla.” The term dates back to at least the early 90s and it has been used by other popular West Coast rappers like Rappin 4 Tay and WC. The origins of this word are not entirely known, but it’s definitely one of the more creative in circulation.
The Wu-Tang Clan is one of the most legendary Hip-Hop crews in Hip-Hop. Ever since they arrived on the scene in early 1990’s, they’ve made an undeniable global impact on the entire music scene. One of Wu-Tang’s contributions to Hip-Hop is the slang word “CREAM” which is used to describe money. The word is actually an acronym that stands for Cash Rules Everything Around Me. It was the name of a single from their debut album, and it has remained as a perennial piece of rappers’ lingo to this day.
Several Hip-Hop slang words originate from various types of edible foods. Lettuce is one of them. The relationship mostly derives from the fact that the dollar bill and the leafy vegetable both share the same green color. You can find this slang word used in the song by Jay-Z protégé, J.Cole titled “Can’t Get Enough” featuring Tre Songz. In one of his verses, Cole rhymes, “I’m on the grind trying to find this lettuce.” Well said J.Cole, we are all trying to find that highly elusive lettuce.
Yet another word slang word derived from food that is extremely popular in the rap game is chedda/cheddar. Some of the legends in the game have used this word in some very popular songs. On his Just Blaze produced hit, Jay-Z rapped the lyrics; “I check chedda like a food inspector.” The late, great Notorious B.I.G. also used the slang term in the cinematic hit “Warning” from his debut Ready to Die album. His lines were “Touch my Chedda/Feel my Berretta.” Another variation of this slang term is simply “cheese.” Simple enough, right?
This slang term for money is derived from the word “lucre” which usually refers to money gotten through sordid or illegal means. Lucci is a really popular hip-hop slang word and several rappers have used this word in their stage names – examples: Lucci Lou, Mac Lucci, Lucci Wally. Another variation of this word “Luchini,” and it was used by 90’s rap duo Camp Lo in their hit single “Luchini – This Is It.” The chorus for that song was: “Luchini falling from the Sky, This Is it – What!” … In many ways, that song was a precursor to the “Make It Rain” by Fat Joe and Lil Wayne.