A Hip-Hop Farewell

If Day To Day were a rap star, how would it say goodbye? "Peace out?" "I'm ghost?" "Let's shake the spot?" A quick look at bidding farewell with hip hop slang. Christopher Johnson

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ALEX COHEN, host:

This is Day to Day. I'm Alex Cohen.

MADELEINE BRAND, host:

I'm Madeleine Brand. Whoever said it's hard to say goodbye probably never checked out a rap record. In the world of hip hop, there are a thousand and one ways to bid farewell. Here is NPR's Christopher Johnson with just a few of them.

CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON: OK, how do I put this? I have to go.

(Soundbite of music)

JOHNSON: I've always been bad at goodbyes. Fortunately, I love hip hop, and rappers have made up all sorts of goodbyes, so I'll let them do the talking.

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified group: (Rapping) The guys don't stop Until it's time to save face…

Mr. RZA (Co-Founder, Wu-Tang Clan): Peace, I think, is one of the best ways to depart with somebody.

JOHNSON: Wu-Tang Clan co-founder and slang doctor RZA. He's flipped the standard goodbye - peace - into all sorts of acronyms.

Mr. RZA: Over the years, I've made about 50 of those up. I'll give you a couple. Poverty and Education Always Correct Errors. We got, Power Equality Always C Everything. We have, Please Educate All Children Every day. Um, I'm Out...

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified group: (Rapping) Now, I look free When I'm out (And I'm out)

(Soundbite of music)

Unidentified group: (Rapping) And sick and I'm out, peace out…

JOHNSON: Culture critic and self-proclaimed media assassin, Harry Allen.

Mr. HARRY ALLEN (Hip-Hop Activist and Journalist): People say, I'm out. At one point, stretched into I'm outty.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. ALLEN: Which stretch into Outty 5000.

(Soundbite of song "Outty 5000")

Mr. LUPE FIASCO: (Rapping) Outtie like 5 Ts…

Mr. ALLEN: Audi 5000 being a make of car that was popular at the time.

(Soundbite of song, Outty 5,000")

Unidentified Man: (Singing) And now Audi five, running red lights…

Mr. KING ANYI HOWELL (Youth Radio): In Oakland, we say scrape.

JOHNSON: Youth Radio's King Anyi Howell tuned me in to how younger folks part company on the streets in the Bay area.

Mr. HOWELL: I'm about to scrape. It's like saying goodbye. When you have a car, it's called a scraper. And when you're about to leave, you're about to scrape, about to bounce.

(Soundbite of music)

Mr. ALLEN: Let's bounce, which is one I like for the picture it could make.

Unidentified Man #1: The shell (unintelligible) off the shell, yo. The shell.

Mr. HOWELL: Sometimes, you know, I don't even say nothing. Sometimes I just pound on my chest twice.

Unidentified Man #1: Basically go on...

Unidentified Man #2: Like you're trying to burp.

Mr. HOWELL: Yeah, like I got something stuck in my...

Unidentified Man #1: Holler at me. You know, I'm ready. I mean, see you later, or holler at me, catch you later, you know what I mean?

Mr. ALLEN: It might be bigger than hip hop. It might be something that extends to people of African descent wherever they are.

Mr. HOWELL: Jamaicans say, be easy. My uncle, he always just - he just says, easy, which could be, you know, take it easy. And now, it's gotten the point where we just...

(Soundbite of song)

Unidentified Group: (Singing) We can shake the spot…

Mr. HOWELL: My guess is that it's based on rhythm.

(Soundbite of song)

Unidentified Man #3: (Rapping) He's a mouse (unintelligible) like a runaway slave...

Mr. HOWELL: This primacy of rhythm is what drives our semantic innovation.

Mr. ALLEN: Peace and then...

Unidentified Man #2: Draw out the peace sign.

Mr. ALLEN: Two fingers.

(Soundbite of movie)

Unidentified Man #4: I got it. I'm gone.

JOHNSON: They call it deuces. Sometimes you say - just say, deuces.

(Soundbite of song)

Unidentified Man #5: (Rapping) And we're out of here…

JOHNSON: So you can visualize that's some fingers being thrown up, the deuce.

(Soundbite of song)

Unidentified Man #5: (Rapping) Peace, peace, peace…

BRAND: That was NPR's Christopher Johnson. It's the last time you'll hear him on this show. You can keep up with his work, radio and more at his site, yourplanb.org. But don't go there just yet. The site launches on May 11th. Yourplanb.org.

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