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More than any other genre of music, hip-hop artists pride themselves on the word play and manipulating language in new ways to create art. However, constructing the perfect rhyme or flow in conjunction with lyrics requires a concise approach and ruthless editing. Because of this, rappers often create their own terminology to better suit the song while potentially leaving their own personal stamp on the industry too.

Over the years, a wide range of rap acronyms and slang words have gone on to enter the public consciousness and be used in everyday life. At times though, all of these various “rapcronyms” can be hard to understand unless you live and breathe hip-hop, so join us as we break down 10 song titles that include some of the most impressive acronyms in the game.

Ice-T – “Girls, L.G.B.N.A.F.”

Album:Power (1988)

What Does It Stand For:

Ice-T’s definitive sex rap is also one of his most explicit once the title’s acronym is revealed at the end of the first verse. “Let’s get butt-naked and fuck,” may number among rap’s least romantic chat-up lines, but it’s hard not to be impressed by the way that Ice-T repeatedly rhymes “butt” with “fuck” as the song unfolds. The track was recorded as a direct response to the softer love songs that LL Cool J was releasing at the time, making fun of the romantic image he portrayed in his music.

Wu-Tang Clan – “C.R.E.A.M.”

Album: Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)

What Does It Stand For:

Defined by Method Man as “Cash rules everything around me,” this definitive cut from Wu-Tang Clan’s back catalogue is a powerful indictment on the negative role that capitalism plays in society. Over the years, “C.R.E.A.M.” has been referenced by everyone from Drake to DJ Khaled and even featured in the films 8 Mile and Straight Outta Compton. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, music critics have since named “C.R.E.A.M.” one of the best rap songs of all time and the phrase itself is still used as a slang word for “money” even today.

2Pac – “Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z…” ft. Pacific Heights

Album:Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z… (1993)

What Does It Stand For:

The title track from Tupac Shakur’s second album details his rise in the music business, so it turns out that the acronym used here is inspirational in a different way than it might appear on first glance. The meaning behind “Never Ign’ant Getting Goals Accomplished” is a key theme on the album which emphasizes the strong political and social views that helped make Tupac such a success in the first place. Clocking in at 5:55, the song itself also happens to be the longest on the album, proving to listeners that Tupac wasn’t willing to hold back when it came to what he had to say.

Common – “I Used to Love H.E.R.”

Album:Resurrection (1994)

What Does It Stand For:

Common’s unique style of rap has always been remarkably intelligent and thoughtful, so it’s fascinating to hear the way that he uses an acronym here to surprise the listener at the last minute. Throughout “I Used to Love H.E.R.,” it sounds like Common has been rapping about a girl he used to know, but at the end, he reveals that the “H.E.R.” in question is in fact rap itself, which he felt had changed considerably due to the growing influence of West Coast rap. What he actually misses in the song is “Hearing Every Rhyme,” and because of these connotations, the release of this track kick-started a feud between Common and Ice Cube at the time.

LL Cool J – “The G.O.A.T.”

Album: G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) (2000)

What Does It Stand For:

Taken from LL Cool J’s only #1 album on the US Billboard chart to date, “The G.O.A.T.” continues a long-standing tradition of bravado in hip-hop, where the prolific rapper declares that he is the “Greatest Of All Time”. Despite its farmyard associations, the acronym “G.O.A.T.” is hotly debated in the field of rap, although few rankings would place LL Cool J at the top, despite his longevity and sustained success over the years.

Elzhi – “D.E.M.O.N.S.”

Album: The Preface (2008)

What Does It Stand For:

Rap acronyms have been around for as long as rap itself, but few artists have tackled them in the same way as former Slum Village member Elzhi. On the track “D.E.M.O.N.S.” taken from his solo debut album, Elzhi constructs the entire second verse around the title, revealing its multiple meanings in a powerful flow of consciousness. According to Elzhi, “a demon could mean” anything from “Deceitful elections, monitor our nations” and “Diabetes enter many obese n****s” to “Dreadful, evolved missiles operatin’ nuclear,” commenting again and again on the decay of modern society.

JAY-Z & Kanye West – “H.A.M.”

Album:Watch the Throne (2011)

What Does It Stand For:

As the lead single for a collaboration between two of rap’s biggest stars, anticipation was high for the juicy first track from Watch the Throne” and boy, did “H.A.M.” deliver. Throughout the song, both Kanye and JAY-Z take aim at their haters “hard as a motherfucker.” but it’s Hova’s defiant couplet at the end that will forever immortalize the “H.A.M.” acronym:

“Fuck the pigs, no pork on my fork
Peace God, cause you know a n*gga just went H·A·M”

Kendrick Lamar – “m.A.A.d city” ft. MC eiht

Album:good kid, m.A.A.d city (2012)

What Does It Stand For:

Both this track’s name and the title of the album that it’s taken from have two separate meanings, although Kendrick Lamar initially kept them both secret following their release. Eventually though, Lamar explained to Complex that “m.A.A.d” stands for both “my Angel on Angel’s dust” and “my Angry Adolescence divided,” hinting further at the album’s biographical content. However, fans have wondered whether use of the acronym “m.A.A.d” could also be a reference to the 90’s Compton based hip-hop group “WC and the Maad Circle.”

A$AP Rocky – “PMW (All I Really Need)” ft. Schoolboy Q

Album: Long.Live.A$AP (2013)

While this might not be the most complex “rapcronym” on the list, “PMW (All I Really Need)” certainly sums up the three things that A$AP Rocky and Schoolboy Q long for in their lives, which turns out to be “pussy,” “money,” and “weed.” More than most though, A$AP Rocky is somewhat obsessed with using acronyms in his music and even his rap name acts an abbreviation for the mantra “Always Strive and Prosper”.

Future – “I.C.W.N.T.”

Album: n/a (2018)

What Does It Stand For:

After kicking off 2018 with a variety of guest appearances alongside the likes of Tinashe and Kendrick Lamar, Future quietly released his first solo track of the year via SoundCloud on February 28. Titled “I.C.W.N.T.,” this acronym spells out the phrase, “I Can’t Wife No Thot,” which Future repeats throughout the track as he continues disregarding the various women he’s slept with.

Need more lists in your life? Check out our list of the 25 Best Justin Bieber songs right here.

  • Text:David Opie
  • Main & Feature Image:Michael Stewart / Getty Images
Words by Contributor
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