Slang City Mail

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August 24, 2006

Slang of the Week: fishscale (noun)
high quality cocaine

After Jack’s date came back from the bathroom, she behaved so strangely that he thought she might have snorted some fishscale.

Celebrity quote:
“This is a dream of a hustler (like a nightmare!)

I had the butter and the fiends was in love with us (that fishscale!)”
-Jim Jones on the song Bright Lights, Big City

What does a rough, tough 21st century rapper have in common with a 1980s yuppie working in New York publishing? That would be fishscale. Jones’ song is on an album scheduled to be released this fall, but the reference is to the 1984 novel Bright Lights, Big City, by Jay McInerney.

Michael J. Fox starred in the 1988 film version of the story, in which a young man from
Kansas comes to New York to make a name for himself as a writer. But things don’t work out that way. He gets a job as a fact checker at a magazine, loses his wife, and spends most of his time at nightclubs looking for his next cocaine fix.

Coke reached its peak of popularity in the 1980s, when it was fashionable for the young and upwardly mobile (yuppies) to snort it openly at parties through rolled up $100 bills. However, it is still a staple in rap music with artists like Jones and Young Jeezy, who calls himself “Da Snowman.”