R.I.P. Swag

For the last few years/months/weeks/days/hours now swag has emerged as the expression du jour among people who download mixtapes and . Not to be confused with archaic camping gear or the free stuff you get at swanky fashion shows, swag is a hip hop catch-all for “good” and thanks to the lyrics and social media accounts of rappers like Lil B, Soulja Boy and Odd Future, has enjoyed rampant (some might say insufferable) usage throughout the internets. Some of that has to do with its malleability of course. It can be a verb (leather pants swag my shit out), a noun (these leather pants give me so much swag), an adjective (check out my swag leather pants) or a lazy way for people who aren’t black to prove they listen to hip hop. It’s a truncation of swagger basically and almost identical in usage to the skate term “steez” meaning carriage, style or charisma.

Sounds awesome right? Roll it around in your mouth and try it out in a sentence! Use it to hash tag an awesome twitpic of yourself. See how it punctuates everything you say? Now forget you ever knew it or said/typed it in earnest. Going the way of “da bomb” and izzle anything, the term reached its cultural tipping point this week when rapper P Diddy adopted Swag as his latest moniker (so it’s a proper noun now too!). In a video posted to the most unintentionally hilarious channel on Youtube, the human formerly known as Sean Combs attributed the name change to his recovery from the flu (???) and even changed his twitter handle to @iamswag. Closer to home meanwhile Sydney street press staple The Brag co-opted the term when it renamed itself “The Swag” in honour of Australia-bound cover stars, Odd Future. Then, across town in a giant calculator somewhere the very embodiment of “terrible Dad joke” David Koch deployed swag in a tweet referring to Aussie dance troupe, Justice Crew. Kochie then offered the following definition to a confused follower: “”swag” is a term hip hoppers have claimed to describe someone or something.”

Stop that now.


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