Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Cannonball Adderley - "One for Daddy-O" (Jazz instrumental sound file, information, & comments)

Jazzhole 13,  Dec. 9, 2009

One for Daddy-O Album: Somethin' Else (1958) Written by: Nat Adderley Sam Jones Personnel: Cannonball Adderley — alto saxophone Miles Davis — trumpet Hank Jones — piano Sam Jones — bass Art Blakey — drums

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post showcases the Jazz instrumental tune entitled "One For Daddy-O". This tune
was composed by Nat Adderley and headlined by his brother Cannonball Adderley in honor of  African American radio deejay (dj) Homes Daddy-O Daylie.

Information about Cannonball Adderley is incuded in this post along with information about Daddy-O Daylie.

The content of this post is presented for historical, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrighs remain with their owners.

Thanks to the musical legacies of Cannonball Adderley, Nat Adderley, and all those who performed this tune and others. Thanks also to the cultural legacies of Daddy-O Daylie and thanks to the publisher of this tune on YouTube.

"Julian Edwin "Cannonball" Adderley (September 15, 1928 –August 8, 1975) was an American jazz alto saxophonist of the hard bop era of the 1950s and 1960s.[2][3][4]

Adderley is perhaps best remembered for the 1966 soul jazz single "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy",[5] which was written for him by his keyboardist Joe Zawinul and became a major crossover hit on the pop and R&B charts. A cover version by the Buckinghams, who added lyrics, also reached No. 5 on the charts. Adderley worked with Miles Davis, first as a member of the Davis sextet, appearing on the seminal records Milestones (1958) and Kind of Blue (1959), and then on his own 1958 album Somethin' Else. He was the elder brother of jazz trumpeter Nat Adderley, who was a longtime member of his band.[6]"...

..."The twelve-bar blues "One for Daddy-O" was written by Adderley's brother Nat for Chicago radio DJ Holmes "Daddy-O" Daylie"...

"Holmes Daylie (May 15, 1920 – February 6, 2003) was a radio jock on radio stations in the 1940s and 1950s that rhymed and rapped playing bebop and was one of the early pioneers of black-appeal radio. His upbeat patter and rhyming delivery from the 1940s to 1970s on stations WAAF, WMAQ, WAIT, WGN and other broadcast outlets and television stations brought Daddy-O-Daylie, as he was known, fame and following amongst both black and white audiences.[1] He was inducted into the Black Radio Hall of Fame in Atlanta in 1990.[2]"...


Numbers are added for referencing purposes only.


1. Miriam de Goeij
"Well this totally is incredible...the style, smoothness and purpose of every note adding to the music as a whole! I can only dream .."

2. Laseptiemewilaya Tahar
"Art Blakey on the O man...listen to that..and Miles he is not blowing a horn...that's a divine sound coming out...Man on Man"

3. purkasz
"Ooo, pa, pa doo. Had this 1958 side in high school. Such simplicity and yet such extraordinary musicianship. Skill with difficult instruments has almost totally disappeared from jazz. Now we got poets with drums and a few guys playing jazz lite on the radio. The appreciation for this kind of soaring skill has dwindled at our peril. Miles is so good here. I like how he took sideman status on the Adderley bro's date."


4. anthonya13
"I think Mile's solo might be the most tasteful and perfectly phrased soulful solo I have ever heard from a trumpeter player. Daymn"

5. pigbagable
"I don't agree that 'skill ...has disappeared from jazz' . What about Chris Potter, Joshua Redman, Craig Taborn, Chris Dave, Robert Glasper, Ambrose Akinmusire, Jason Moran, Vijay Iyer, Wynton, Tim Berne, Roy Hargrove? I do agree that the younger musicians aren't getting the exposure that they need but that starts from us listening and supporting them."



6. Captain Turrican
"Masterpiece from jazz music,this is timeless and precious!"

7. James Brown
"Perfection.  Tight as a drum."



8. ghairraigh
"Theme music for Daddy-O Daylie, a long-time rhyming jazz radio show host in Chicago.

"Can't sleep? Don't count sheep - Count Basie!"  I used to listen to Daddy-O's noon show every day while at college. “…

"Early to bed and early to rise, and you'll never meet some of our most interesting citizens!" "

9. Norm Jay, 2022
"---- music "for those who live it and love it, and for those who make a living of it!" "


10. Music Around The World
"On 9 March 2018, this album celebrated its 60th anniversary.

This is essential Blue Note Jazz; perfect for beginners or long-time Jazz enthusiasts.

Happy B-Day!"


11. kyu kyu
"I'm jazzing it up daddio!"


12. aitech nasus
"One For Daddy O Is A Great Wonderful Jazz Masterpiece By Cannonball Adderley."

13. Reginald Briggs
"I would have to partially disagree. In my opinion, skill has not disappeared from jazz but it's not at the level witnessed years ago. It can be argued that the inspiration to hone skills is not as great since listenership and support are low. As jazz lovers know, Miles, Cannonball, Horace Silver, and others, reached their peak after years of practice in the trenches. Since interest was high, there was inspiration to explore and create."

"@Reginald Briggs  First off, have you listened to Chris Potter or Joshua Redman? Do you realise how skilled they are? I think the inspiration to hone skills comes from wanting to be the best musician you can be. To push yourself to the limit. And that is present as much today as in the forties or fifties."

15. Lander Albizuri
"I saw J. Redman live once and I assure you that he is incredibly talented musician"

16. pigbagable
"@Lander Albizuri  Yes I completely agree. I edited my post above as it was a bit confused. What I was trying to say was that technique is alive and well today. But the style of the music as displayed on this record was due to many years of evolution gradually honing a musical language into something beautiful. And that's hard to replicate with newer styles."

James McGall
"The epitome of cool"


18. Marvin Hagler
"Bad bad ALBUM..meaning EXCELLENT!!!!!"

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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The Cadillacs - "Speedoo" (1955 Doo Wop Classic Sound File, Film Clips, Information, & Lyrics)

GNRSlashLover, Jul 18, 2011 **** Edited by Azizi Powell This pancocojams post showcases The Cadillac's 1955 Doo Wop song "Speedo". Information about The Cadillacs is included in this post along with information about that song. This pancocojams post also includes the lyrics to the song "Speedo" and YouTube examples of the Cadillacs performing that song. The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertaiment, and aesthetic purposes. All copyrights remain with their owners. Thanks to Esther Navarro for composing this song and thanks to The Cadillacs for their musical legacy. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publishers of these sound file and film clips on YouTube.

**** SHOWCASE FILM CLIP #1: Speedo- Cadillacs (ACTUAL film segment from 1955)

TCSguy, March 20, 2011

Rare film footage of the Cadillacs singing "Speedo" at an Alan Freed Show at the Brooklyn Paramount in 1955. Found in a rock documentary that aired in the 70s. At this time, the group consisted of: Earl Carroll, LaVerne Drake, Bobby Phillips, Earl Wade, and Charles Brooks. -snip- Here's a comment about this film clip from PJ Riverdale, published in 2015 in that YouTube video's discussion thread:
"From an ABC TV RNR documentary aired in the 1970's. The primary film footage was shot by CBS News for a negative report on Rock music and its fans,c.1956 . Look carefully at the audience shots, you can see where they were probably going with this.

From that same footage,a clip of a Chuck Berry duck walk also exists and has been shown  here and there. It is believed that the original CBS footage was shot silent,any audio has been dubbed.

Almost any footage of early rock music exists solely to incense adult audiences particularly in the South where all manner of racial rhetoric and associations were added to negatively portray this phenomenon as the newest danger to [white] youth and the American[White] way of life."...
**** SHOWCASE FILM CLIP #2: Speedo & The Cadillacs (Live)~ Speedoo, Gloria,Peek A Boo,The Girl I Love

worldwidepromoters2, Feb. 9, 2011
-snip- The Cadillacs perform the song "Speedoo" from .031 to 3:44 in this film clip. -snip- Here's a comment written by
Al D'Antonio in 2014 from this video's discussion thread: "The first two performances of 'Speedoo' & 'Gloria' were on the Clint Holmes' 'NY at Night' show that aired between 1987-88 while the last two performances herein are of Earl & the Cadillacs a few years later on the Harvey Holiday Doo Wop Show which also had Jocko Henderson introducing the Cadillacs as they sang 'Peek-A-Boo' and 'The Girl I Love' with Earl's hair being just a little greyer than in the first two performances!"

**** INFORMATION ABOUT EARL CARROLL LEAD SINGER OF THE CADILLACS From "Earl "Speedo" Carroll (November 2, 1937 – November 25, 2012) was the lead vocalist of the doo-wop group The Cadillacs.[1] The group's biggest hit was "Speedoo", which with a minor spelling change became Carroll's subsequent nickname. It was released in 1955. He joined The Coasters in 1961, leaving the group in the early 1980s to permanently reform The Cadillacs.

In 1982, Earl took a job as a custodian at the PS 87 elementary school in New York City and worked there until retiring in 2005. A popular figure with the students, he was chosen to be the subject of a children's book, That's Our Custodian, by Ann Morris (Brookfield, Connecticut: Millbrook Press). The publicity helped him to revive his career. He became a mainstay of the PBS series honoring doo wop, hosted by Jerry Butler and continued performing until the early 2010s when deteriorating health forced him to retire."...

**** MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE CADILLACS From Sound Check By G. Brown, Sept. 8, 2000 ..."
Look at that Cadillac

The Cadillacs were one of New York's first and very best doo-wop groups - in 1956, the joyful closeharmony street-corner sound of "Speedoo" hit big for the Harlem quintet: "They often call me Speedoo but my real name is Mr. Earl ... " It was written about smooth-assilk lead singer Earl "Speedoo" Carroll.

In his recollection, "We were playing an armory up in Boston, and after the gig Bobby Phillips, the little bass singer and the ham of the group, saw a great big torpedo shell outside. My head is kinda pointy - they used to tease me about it all the time - and he looked over at me and said, "Hey, Speedoo, there's your torpedo!" "And the guys just rolled on the ground - they thought that was the funniest thing ever. I was so upset, I said, "Listen, man, my name is Earl - Mr. Earl - as far as you're concerned, you little bum.' So we got in the car, and they kept teasing me all the way back to New York unti we wrote the song. And the rest is history!" The Cadillacs became known for humorous jump material, and they were the first R&B vocal group to extensively use hot choreography in their stage routines.

"I remember playing the Fox Theatre in Detroit when we first went there. We looked in the wings, and there was Smokey (Robinson) and the Temptations and everybody from Motown looking at what we were doing. We started five guys stepping together. I'm proud of that." In recent years, Carroll's favorite audience has been children - he still works as the head custodian at P.S. 87 in Manhattan.

"I've been there since 1982. I was thinking about retirement this year at 62, but they talked me into going to 65 and getting the full benefits. It's such an easy, beautiful job, and I love what I'm doing with the teenie-weenies. They're something else, they keep me young. It's like a family." But doo-wop got a big boost recently from the TV special "DooWop 50," the most lucrative fundraiser in public TV history. The program revived the Cadillacs' career in a way Carroll never thought possible.

Rhino Records has issued a third doo-wop boxed set, and "The Legends of Doo-Wop" as seen on PBS is on tour and will visit University of Denver's Magness Arena tonight. What is it about doo-wop that brings forth such excitement?

"A couple of years ago, I was saying, "Well, I guess this doo-wop rock 'n' roll thing is all over.' And it just seems to get bigger and bigger. It really is amazing to me. I thought it would be long gone like disco, but it's never going to die. Anybody who counts out '50s music evidently can't count!" The Cadillacs with the Marcels, Del Vikings, Gene Chandler, Chantels, Spaniels, Penguins and the Monte Carlos: 7:30 tonight; Magness Arena; $58.50, $48.50, $38.50 and $33.50; Ticketmaster"...

"Speedoo" is a song written by Esther Navarro and performed by The Cadillacs featuring the Jesse Powell Orchestra. It reached number 3 on the U.S. R&B chart and number 17 on the U.S. pop chart in 1955.[1] The song was featured on their 1957 album, The Fabulous Cadillacs.[2]

Lyrically, the song tells of Mister Earl who acquired the nickname "Speedoo" because, when it comes to his pursuit of pretty girls, "he don't believe in wastin' time" and "he don't never take it slow".


The song was featured on the soundtrack of the 1990 film Goodfellas.[12]

The song was performed by The Cadillacs in the beginning of the 1998 miniseries The Temptations

The song was featured on the 2001 episode "Employee of the Month" of the show The Sopranos."....


Boom boom boom boomBoom boom boomBoom boom boomBoom boom boom
Well now they often call me SpeedooBut my real name is Mister EarlUmm-hmm-hmm
Well now they often call me SpeedooBut my real name is Mister EarlUmm-hmm-hmm
All for meetin' brand new fellasAnd for takin' other folk's girlUmm-hmm-hmm
Well now they often call me Speedoo'Cause I don't believe in wastin' timeUmm-hmm-hmm
Well now they often call me Speedoo'Cause I don't believe in wastin' timeUmm-hmm-hmm
Well I've known some pretty womenAnd that's caused them to change their mindUmm-hmm-hmm
Well, now some may call me JoeSome may call me MoeJust remember SpeedooHe don't never take it slow
Well now they often call me SpeedooBut my real name is Mister EarlUmm-hmm-hmm
Well now they often call me SpeedooBut my real name is Mister EarlUmm-hmm-hmm
Well now, some may call me MoeSome may call me JoeJust remember SpeedooHe don't never take it slow
Well now they often call me SpeedooBut my real name is Mister EarlUmm-hmm-hmm
Well now they often call me SpeedooBut my real name is Mister EarlUmm-hmm-hmm
And now they gotta call me Speedoo'Till they call off makin' pretty girlsUmm-hmm-hmm
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Esther Navarro
Speedoo lyrics © Emi Longitude Music

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Monday, September 26, 2022

Three Radio Show Sound Clips Of Famous African American Radio DJs: Frankie Crocker, Jocko Henderson, & Daddy-O Alexander

Ellis Feaster, May 10, 2017

WBLS 107.5 New York - Frankie Crocker - September 1972. Radio Aircheck.

Song - Soulful Drums

Artist - Brother Jack McDuff
This is a compilation of sound clips from several Frankie Crocker radio shows.

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post presents three radio clips that are found on YouTube of famous African American radio deejays (djs): Frankie Crocker, Jocko Henderson, & Daddy-O Alexander.

Some information about thes
e showcased djs.  history of African American radio deejays is included in this post.

These radio clips aren't given in any particular order and the selection of these djs doesn't necessarily reflect any ranking of historical African American radio deejays (djs). 

The content of this post is presented for historical and cultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Frankie Crocker, Jocko Henderson, & Daddy-O Alexander and other African American djs for their cultural legacies. Thanks to all those who are associated with these YouTube clips and thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.
Click for Part I of a three part pancocojams series about African American radio djs. The links for the other posts in that series are found in that post.

"Frankie "Hollywood" Crocker (December 18, 1937 – October 21, 2000) was an American disc jockey who helped grow WBLS, the black music radio station in New York.

Early soul radio

According to, Crocker began his career in Buffalo at the AM Soul powerhouse WUFO (also the home to future greats Gerry Bledsoe,[1] Eddie O'Jay,[2] Herb Hamlett, Gary Byrd and Chucky T) before moving to Manhattan, where he first worked for Soul station WWRL and later top-40 WMCA in 1969. He then worked for WBLS as program director, taking that station to the top of the ratings during the late 1970s and pioneering the radio format now known as urban contemporary. He sometimes called himself the "Chief Rocker", and he was as well known for his boastful on-air patter as for his off-air flamboyance.[3]


"Moody's Mood for Love"

When Studio 54 was at the height of its popularity, Crocker once rode in through the front entrance on a white stallion.[4] In the studio, before he left for the day, Crocker would light a candle and invite female listeners to enjoy a candlelight bath with him. He signed off the air each night to the tune "Moody's Mood For Love" by vocalese crooner King Pleasure. Crocker, a native of Buffalo, coined the phrase "urban contemporary" in the 1970s, a label for the eclectic mix of songs that he played.[5]

TV and film career

Crocker was the master of ceremonies of shows at the Apollo Theater in Harlem and was one of the first VJs on VH-1, the cable music video channel, in addition to hosting the TV series Solid Gold and NBC's Friday Night Videos. As an actor, Crocker appeared in five films, including Cleopatra Jones (1973), Five on the Black Hand Side (1973), and Darktown Strutters (Get Down and Boogie) (1975).[10]

 He is credited with introducing as many as 30 new artists to the mainstream, including Manu Dibango's "Soul Makossa" to American audiences.”…

SHOWCASE YOUTUBE CLIP #2:  WOV 1280am New York - Doug Jocko Henderson - 1957

Ellis, Feaster, Dec 8, 2014 Radio aircheck. WOV 1280am New York - Doug Jocko Henderson - 1957. -snip-
Here's some information about Jocko Henderson from :
"Douglas "Jocko" Henderson (March 8, 1918 – July 15, 2000) was an American radio disc jockey, businessman, and hip hop music pioneer.

Early life

Henderson grew up in Baltimore, where both of his parents were teachers.[2]

Radio broadcasting

Henderson began his broadcast career in 1952 at Baltimore station WSID, and in 1953 began broadcasting in Philadelphia on WHAT.[3] He hosted a show called Jocko's Rocket Ship Show out of New York radio stations WOV and WADO and Philadelphia stations WHAT and WDAS from 1954 to 1964, which was an early conduit for rock & roll.[4][5] He was known for a distinctive style of rhythmic patter in his radio voice, which he had learned from a Baltimore deejay, Maurice "Hot Rod" Hulbert.[4] This fast-talking jive was exemplary of the style of Black Appeal Radio, which emerged in the early 1950s after black urban stations switched to playing bebop.[6] With a heavy reliance on rapping and rhyming, the double entendres and street slang were a hit with audiences.[7] Henderson continued on the stations WDAS and WHAT until 1974, deejaying in Philadelphia and New York as well as hosting concerts in both cities and a TV music program in New York.[8] In addition to Philadelphia, New York, and Baltimore, Henderson was also broadcast on stations inSt. Louis, Detroit, Miami, and Boston.[3]"...

SHOWCASE YOUTUBE CLIP #3:  Listen to DJ Oscar 'Daddy Oh' Alexander 

W.G. Smith, Jun 29, 2013

Based on research from the groundbreaking urban radio sales research book and tool Urban Radio - Unlocked!. DJ Oscar "Daddy-Oh" Alexander was an announcer on WAAA-AM in Winston Salem North Carolina during the late 1950's. He was a living legend and his "Daddy-Oh On The Patio" live remote radio broadcast from Ray's Drive-In Restaurant stands as the first social media and is still fondly remembered in all corners of the Winston Salem community. -snip-
Here's some more information about "Daddy-Oh" Alexander and WAAA-AM radio from Winston-Salem Chronicle, Oct. 26, 1995 "Media Legacy Celebrates 45th Anniversary by cheryl Harry
" "I got a dog in the east, I got a dog in the west,., my dog can monkey just like yours, but can your dog do the monkey like Daddy-O's?" If you were in an earshot of Winston-Salem back during the late 50's and early 60's,  I'm sure you can recall those words echoed by "Daddy Oh from his infamous Patio.

Oscar "Daddy-Oh" Alexander was among the early announcers for the legendary, WAAA radio station. WAAA (Triple A) was not only Winston-Salem's first all Black programmed radio station, but was also the only station in North Carolina with an all Black format. I would be  remiss if I did not mention two other announcers who laid the foundation for WAAA's legacy. Robert "Bobcat" Roundtree who came to Winston-salem from WTMP in Tampa, Florida and Larry Williams who was a part of the station's first staff.

WAAA signed on the air October 28, 1950 at 1 p.m…

WAAA's format has been the distinguishing factor that has set it apart from other radio stations Its format has set the standard for other stations targeting the Black community. Many feel the hallmark of WAAA is its full day of Sunday gospel services and the daily obituaries. WAAA has been a concerned and caring station that stays tuned-in to the concerns of its listeners. The station continues to strive to promote excellence in meeting the needs and interests of Winston-Salem's Black community."..
I reformatted this excerpt to enhance its readability.

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Saturday, September 24, 2022

What The African American Vernacular English Phrase "H.A.M" ("Going Ham") Means

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post presents some online excerpts that provide information and opinion about the African American Vernacular English phrase "going ham" (also given as "went ham").

The content of this post is presented for linguistic, historical, and cultural purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.
WARNING- This post includes euphemistic spelling of a word that is considered to be profanity. 

Click for a related pancocojams post entitled "The Colloquial Meanings Of "Hamfatter" & "Ham" In Late 19th Century & Early 20th Century United States".

These excerpts are given in no particular order and are numbered for referencing purposes only. 

EXCERPT #1 Going HAM – Meaning, Origin and Usage

June 9, 2022 BY Pearson
"… Meaning

The expression “going HAM” means you’re going as “Hard as a Motherf**ker.”* It’s a way of telling people that you will give a task or activity your maximum effort and hold nothing back. Going HAM can apply to various activities, from eating to working out or completing work.

If you “go HAM,” you go “all-in,” and you push aside all doubts and obstacles to achieve success, no matter the cost. Going HAM means that you adopt a fearless approach to a task or activity, and you give it everything you have to succeed against the odds.



The expression “going HAM” originates from hip-hop culture. Language experts attribute the use of the term to the title of the track “HAM,” released by rappers Kanye West and Jay Z. The rappers explain the meaning of the acronym HAM in the track, and it experienced quick integration into mainstream culture.

Jay Z and Kanye West are two of the biggest rappers in the world and two of the richest men in hip hop. People like to follow them and adopt the sayings and cultural nuances they introduce into hip-hop culture.

So, it wasn’t long before hip-hop heads were telling everyone they were “going HAM.” The track was released in 2011, and “going HAM” was already a saying by them**. However, language experts believe the hip-hop duo is responsible for popularizing the term.

Phrases Similar to Goin Similar to Going HAM

Wilding out.

Going loco.

Pushing your limits.

Phrases Opposite to Going HAM

Taking it easy.”…
*This is the way that word is given in that article.

**The word “them” in this article might be a typo for “then” as “a saying by them” isn’t either grammatically correct or the way that that sentence would be given in vernacular English. Furthermore, “by then” better fits the first part of that sentence “…going HAM” was already a saying by then”. That sentence means that "going HAM" was already a saying before Kanye West and Jay Z recorded their 2011 record "H.A.M." Read the first two urban dictionary entries that are quoted immediately below.

These entries are presented chronologically with the earliest entries given first. Numbers are added for referencing purposes only.

1. "HAM

acronym for Hard as a mother- -ker*. Meaning a person is unstoppable in a competition.

Damn, Adrian Peterson went HAM last week."
by FiyaBird January 23, 2010
*This word is fully spelled out in this comment

2. "hard as a mother—ker*

H.A. M

We went ham last night at the club."
by klilbit March 5, 2010
*This word is fully spelled out in this comment.

This is the top ranked entry as of September 24, 2022 at 12:02 PM ET.

3. "

Used to describe the actions of a person as going hard as a mother—ker*, doing the activity with the utmost vigor and determination.

That fighter went ham in the ring for the win.
by dbug217 January 12, 2011
*This word is fully spelled out in this comment.

" "H•A•M" is a song by American rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West. It was released as the first single from their collaborative studio album Watch the Throne on January 11, 2011. It was produced by Lexus "Lex Luger" Lewis and Kanye West.[1] The song has served as the opening track to the duo's North American and European Watch the Throne Tour. Various rap artists have remixed it, such as Ace Hood and Busta Rhymes. The song was featured in the 2012 film Project X.[2] It peaked at No. 23 on Billboard Hot 100."
Here's more information about that record from
"This is the first single from Kanye West and Jay-Z's collaborative album, Watch The Throne. The song finds the two stars spitting R-rated braggadocio lyrics about their sexual contests and wealth.

The acronym title has nothing to do with a pork product. It refers to a phrase which features in the song's chorus, "hard as a motherf--ka".”…"

…."A quick search on Google Trends, which displays the relative popularity of a term in searches over time reveals the following:

[This article shows a Google trends graph Worldwide. 1/1/04 - 8/25/18. Web Search]

As you can see, there is a massive, massive spike in the popularity of the term in January 2011, reaching its zenith in the next month.

What happened?

On January 11, 2011, rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West released a song titled “H•A•M,” which explicitly gave the definition of going ham as “hard as a m*.” I wonder whether the “a” in the acronym is supposed to represent “as” or “a,” and where the other one went.

It’s important to note that every definition of the term on Urban Dictionary comes from January 12, 2011, or later. This is important, because many attempts to explain what the term means cite this site, and the definitions are forever tainted by the popularity of the Kanye West and Jay-Z song.

Of course, they didn’t come up with the term. Other rappers had used the phrase “go ham” in their music prior to 2011, including Gucci, who released a song titled “Go Ham On Em,” in 2008, though it lacks the full definition of the word, so it’s impossible to know which he was using at the time.

Here’s a chart over the same time period for the phrase “hard as a m*”:

First, you need to know that the phrase “hard as a m*” has a lower overall volume, and since Google Trends makes its charts based on a percentage scale and not a raw volume, small changes in a term with a small overall search volume can look like massive spikes. So the spikes towards the beginning of this chart look more dramatic but don’t represent as many searches as they would on the “going ham” chart.

Second, there are literally zero searches for “hard as a m*” until mid-2006, while “going ham” had pretty consistent search volume from 2004 until mid-2009, where it began to take off, possibly due to increased usage in the rap community, until even Kanye and Jay-Z were using it.

Consequently, the definition of going ham predates “hard as a m*.”*

Which means that we probably have a backronym on our hands.

“What is a backronym?”

In short, it’s a “constructed phrase that purports to be the source of a word that is an acronym.”


So, what I think we’re experiencing here is that the definition of going ham has a common definition that predates the backronym for the term that comes from the rapping community. The weird fit between the phrase and the alleged acronymic definition supports this theory. If it was the source for the phrase, wouldn’t it fit better?

Furthermore, whether or not you’re aware of the second definition seems to depend on how much rap you consume.

But, maybe that’s not convincing enough for you. Of course, the Google data could, and probably is, incomplete. Maybe it is just a profane acronym.

Of course, then we have to consider its relationship with other pork-based phrases. You could have a “hammy actor,” or an actor “hamming it up.” You could do something in a “ham-fisted” manner or talk about a woman’s “hams.” Because you’re a pig.

Or maybe it has another origin: the wonderful world of radios.

An ad from the June 1977 edition of “Popular Mechanics” features the following sentence: “One of the best reasons to go ham is the quiet hi-fi sound of radios used in the two-meter ham band.” As you may have guessed, they’re trying to sell “ham radios.” So, we have a possible origin for the phrase, though not necessarily one that seems to jive with the common understanding.

But, if that is the going ham origin point, it’s probably the first or only time in history that a bunch of “cool” rappers stole a phrase from nerdy ham radio operators.”…
*This word is written that way in this article.

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