Slang City Mail

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October 7, 2004

Slang of the Week: hick hop (noun phrase)
1. country rap 2. traditional bluegrass music combined with hip hop

The Foggy Mountain Boys shocked the audience at the Grand Ole Opry with their hick hop version of “Salty Dog.”

Celebrity quote:
“I'm swangin' this hick hop
Slick like a flip-flop
Cause we slip-n-slide
On our John Deere ride.”
- Troy Neilson , a.k.a. Pimp-T, on Hick Hop

It’s unlikely that 50 Cent will ever mention John Deere tractors in his rap, but here they are in Pimp-T's song as he pokes fun at his own “uncool” Canadian country roots. Hick is a derogatory word for a country person and hick hop originated in rural Appalachia where many inmates in that area's large prisons come from predominantly black urban neighborhoods.

In 2002, members of Kentucky's Appalshop Arts Center decided to serve both communities by combining fiddles, banjos and other traditional bluegrass instruments with hip hop style. These beginnings of hick hop were presented on a radio show called “From the Holler 2 the Hood.”

The word holla in hip hop music originally comes from “holler” (shout) and is often used in the expression holla back (give me a call). However, this holler, while it might have a double meaning, is country slang. It comes from the word “hollow”—a valley between mountains. Since the hood is usually an inner city neighborhood, the show’s title is a geographic description.

You're probably curious as to how such a strange collaboration might sound, so here's a link to an Appalshop page that has some hick hop music samples. While these are mostly instrumental, this style has grown and now rappers like Texan Cowboy Troy are starting to appear on country music albums.

What’s new at Slang City?
More country music! You think rappers are the only ones to talk dirty and show off their bling? Guess again! Translated lyrics from Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy by alternative country stars Big and Rich.