Who Started Saying “Opps” In Hip-Hop? | Genius News


[HOST] When it comes to beef, Hip-Hop is a
war of words and today almost everyone is saying ‘opps.’ [HOST] “Opp” is an abbreviation for “opposition”
basically defined as the people you’re going up against. [HOST] Genius data shows that the root word,
opposition, has been appearing in rap for decades going back to as early as the mid
1980s with New York rapper LL Cool J’s “Rock The Bells.” [HOST] As well as California’s Dr. Dre in
1995. [HOST] But ‘opp’ appearing in rap lyrics
is actually relatively new. [HOST] From 2011 until 2015 ‘opp’s’
yearly mentions remained in the dozens but exploded into the hundreds after 2016. [HOST] Why? Well, the data yields one plausible reason
– the influence of Chicago’s Drill music scene. [HOST] The first lyrical mention of ‘opp’ came in 2011
from Chicago rapper Chief Keef’s cut “John Madden.” [HOST] Here is another Chief Keef cut from 2012. [HOST] As well as Lil Reese’s “Us” off
of his debut mixtape, “Don’t Like.” [HOST] From 2012 to 2014 ‘opp’ was used
almost exclusively by Chicago rappers. [HOST] The first lyrical mention
by a non-Illinois artist came in 2013 from Houston’s Maxo Kream. [HOST] Genius has covered the influence of
Chicago’s rap scene and specifically Chief Keef in the past. The data shows that it’s fair to ascribe
the prevalence of ‘opp’ to the Windy City. [HOST] From the boom in 2016 “opps” was
off to the races – with everyone saying it – from Lil Uzi Vert… [HOST] To Kendrick Lamar’s surprise appearance
on 2019’s “Revenge of the Dreamers III.” [HOST] But lingo aside, in some cases, the
‘opps’ weren’t just people hating on the internet. [JOSH] It changed the way the music felt to
me because I was seeing the real cost of some of this violence. [HOST] That’s Josh McGhee, a journalist
for the Chicago Reporter. [HOST] He’s written dozens of stories about
slain young men during the city’s ongoing gang crisis – notably this piece on rapper
LA Capone – one of the earliest artists to use ‘opp.’ [HOST] Josh told us what is was like speaking
with Capone’s mother after the rappers death. [JOSH ]I watched her throw away a birthday
cake she had just purchased for him. She’s never going to recover from the loss
of her son even if his music lasts forever. [HOST] Genius found that of the many Chi-town
rappers who were amongst the first to use ‘opp,’ a lot of them have died in Chicago’s
ongoing gang crisis – a seemingly endless cycle of small feuds, violence and retribution – sometimes exacerbated by the music. [HOST] From Lil Jojo, gunned down in September
2012… [HOST] To most recently, Lil Mister shot dead
in March 2019… [HOST] In fact, the city recently had its
most violent weekend of 2019. [HOST] Effectively, for these artists the
‘opps’ were people in their own neighborhoods – not some folks hating on the internet. [HOST] But Josh believes that the blame for
Chicago’s struggles stretches further than slang and Drill. [JOSH] There has been a massive disinvestment
on the south and west side that’s been happening over decades. There’s been the closing of more than 50
schools on the south and westside, there’s been the ending of anti violence programs
and the cutting of social services to Illinois. [HOST] But there are people who are trying
to change things – like Chicago community activist Paris “Tree” Brown. [TREE] In the 7 year period of me being in
this wheelchair I’ve lost 14 friends. [HOST] In 2012, Tree was shot while in a car
in Chicago’s West Side. The bullets left him paralyzed below the waist. He told us how much of a struggle it was to
not seek retribution. [TREE] Me feeling like awh, I wanna kill and
nothin’ and all that, I just realized like man I need to let this go…so I let it go
and started living my life after that. [HOST] Tree works with Good Kids Maad City,
an organization whose work runs the gamut from teaching gunshot first aid to children
to restorative justice. [TREE] Restorative justice can help youth
learn how to resolve issues and fix harm without actually harming others in the process. [HOST] But like Joshua said earlier, unless
the system is fixed, finding a solution will be difficult. [TREE] When you leave us with little to nothing,
and I can get a gun quicker than I can get a job, what’s the outcome going to be? [HOST] As for “Opp,” well, Tree isn’t
a fan of it’s usage. [TREE] They were really speaking on people
who they felt in their heart and soul were their enemies. [HOST] While these Chicago artists were often
rhyming about personal rivals in their own neighborhoods, like any slang, it’s grown
beyond its birthplace. [TECCA] Opps is people that be hatin’ and
I don’t even know them. [HOST] And while Chicago isn’t the only
music scene fraught with violence, it’s fair to say that the term has become a reflection
of a culture with real life consequences. [HOST] I’m Jacques Morel with Genius News,
bringing you the meaning and the knowledge behind the music. Peace!

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