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April 3, 2003

Slang of the Week: dope (adjective)

beatbox (verb)
to use the human voice to imitate sounds, such as an electronic drum machine (beatbox) or scratching record in a song

dude (noun)

Bobby McFerrin does some dope beatboxing for a jazz dude.

Celebrity quote:
“I’m like, ‘Dude, that’s dope. You gotta go in there and do that…’ and I recorded four tracks of him (Justin Timberlake) beatboxing.”
Record Producer BT, explaining the process of making Pop with the Backstreet Boys

Dope also has other meanings, some less positive. As a noun, it usually means a fool (like the foolish dwarf Dopey in Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves). It can also be a drug. In the early part of the twentieth century, dope was a slang word for Coca-Cola, perhaps because Coke contained cocaine when it was first manufactured.

“Human beatboxes” came into fashion with in the early 1980s. Hip-hop performers like the Fat Boys and Doug E. Fresh were among the first to popularize this strange talent. Though beatboxing was originally limited to imitations of drums, it has expanded to a wide range of vocal effects. To hear some current examples, check out music by Scratch of The Roots or his former bandmate Rahzel.

What’s new at Slang City?
All about guns! A.C. answers your questions about glocks, gats and fo's in the newest edition of ASK AC.

Slang City Book of the Month
The Big Book of Being Rude. 7000 Slang Insults
If our Insult Page has left you wanting to learn more, check out this huge guide to insults, arranged by topic.