Edited by Azizi Powell
This post provides a definition for the Jamaican Patois term "big up", presents an excerpt of an article about the history of that term in Jamaica, the United States, and Britain, and documents a small sample of the use of the Jamaican originated term "big up" in the discussion threads for seven videos of contemporary African music cAfricanvari - "Xigubu" by DJ Ganyani ft FB (Fiesta Black).
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/09/the-term-big-up-in-youtube-discussion.html for a related post on the use of the term "big up" in a 2013 YouTube music video's discussion thread - "Xigubu" by DJ Ganyani ft FB (Fiesta Black).
for a somewhat related post.
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Thanks to all of the featured singers and musicians whose videos are referenced in these comments. Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publishers of those videos on YouTube.
This post is part of ongoing pancocojams series on linguistics. I'm particularly interested in African American Vernacular English, Jamaican Patois, African Creole languages, and the combinations of those languages/dialects with traditional African languages in YouTube music, and/or in YouTube discussion threads.
Click the tabs below to find other pancocojams posts in this series.
JAMAICAN PATOIS DEFINITION OF "BIG UP"
Top 15 Jamaican Patois words you should know, Posted on July 28, 2014
Give respect / Give props
To give respect, encouragement or to acknowledge someone
(Patois) Mi hav fi big up John fi everything him duh fi wi
(English) I have to give John respect for everything that he did for us"
EXCERPT FROM ARTICLE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF THE TERM "BIG UPS" [Added 9/9/2016]
From http://grammarist.com/usage/big-ups/ http://grammarist.com/usage/big-ups/
"Big-ups (sometimes unhyphenated, sometimes singular) is an idiom that entered American English and, less conspicuously, British English around 1990. It has several meanings, but in the U.S. and Britain, where it started in hip-hop culture, it’s mainly used to acknowledge someone or to express respect or approval. It usually works as a noun. For instance, a performer on stage might send big-ups to a friend in the audience, or we might give big-ups to Grandma for her amazing green-bean casserole. In the acknowledgement sense, a big-up is similar to a shout-out. When it expresses praise, a big-up is similar to kudos and props.
Big up also appears as a verb phrase meaning (1) to give big-ups, (2) to make bigger (figuratively or literally), or (3) to pay homage to.
These 21st-century uses of big-ups descend from older senses primarily from English-speaking parts of the Caribbean, where the phrase has several meanings, including (1) a strong or important person,1 and (2) to promote or to elevate the importance of (someone). Outside the Caribbean, the phrase first gained traction in New York City and London, where Caribbean immigrants had an influence on the development of hip-hop culture through the 70s and 80s, and it gradually spread through the 90s and 00s. Though big-ups still appears occasionally, some might find it a little dated, and it tends to give way to shout-out and other synonyms.
Music has become the vehicle to dis or big-up the latest fashion trend. [Vibe (1994)]
Big ups to Sean “Puffy” Combs who, despite being one of the most successful producers today, retains enough humility to reach back and pull up another black talent. [Billboard (1995)]....
That article didn't provide any information about when "big up"/"big ups" was first used in the Africa continent. However, the earliest date that I found for the use of "big up" was July 13, 2010, in the title of and several comments from a nairaland.com [Nigerian] discussion post congratulating South Africa for their success in hosting the World Cup. http://www.nairaland.com/477417/drop-congratulatory-message-south-africa/1"...
EXAMPLES OF THE TERMS "BIG UP"/"BIG UPS" IN YOUTUBE DISCUSSION THREADS FOR SEVERAL AFRICAN CONTEMPORARY MUSIC VIDEOS
Pancocojams Editor's Notes
The comments below are from seven YouTube discussion threads for contemporary African music. Most of these videos have been featured in their own pancocojams posts or may be featured in upcoming pancocojams posts.
There are many discussion threads of contemporary African music videos that have no comments that include the term "big up" and there are some discussion threads that only contain one or very few comments that include this phrase. However, it should be part of the folkloric record that that Jamaican originated term, and othes, have been and still are used in the continent of Africa.
This compilation doesn't purport to be all of the comments in that discussion thread to date that include those terms.
The fact that these comments are in a YouTube discussion thread for a video from the nation of South Africa does not mean that all the commenters are from that nation. However, most of the commenters are from some African nation as indicated in their comments.
These comments are presented in chronological order for each video with the oldest comments given first except for replies. However, these comments may not be in consecutive order.
I've assigned numbers for referencing purposes only.
Eddy Kenzo - Sitya Loss [Uganda]
1.Orode-Okah Benjamin, 2015
"I have played this song not less than 100 times since ystday... its been on repeat cos the happiness in it is sooo contagious. Big ups Eddy Kenzo!!!"
2. falia dudia, 2015
"too much love kenzo here in cape town, big up man."
3. guy ahanga8 months ago, 2016
"Never knew why this song was remembering me one of the song of Zaiko Langa Langa, the one that Fally Ipupa recently mixed in the F-Victeam generique #2 single, until I discover that they are our neighbors from Uganda. Big up Bujumbura 💗👏👍"
Diaze Plus, 2016
"big up brother"
PSquare - Shekini [Official Video] (Nigeria)
1. ViruSraSta, 2015
"great tune! Big ups from Poland!!!!"
2. Oscar Ruderstad, 2015
"Sweden, come into the dance. Big Up to this tune!"
3. RICCI CASTRO, 2015
"I'm So InLove With African Music 😍!! My Brother is A DJ And Every time he put this songs People too Crazy Loving this Music's. #BigUpFromHonduras!
III. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drq46aiC_4I Gasha & Eddy Kenzo -"Chill", a Cameroon & Ugandan collaboration
1. Debel Ajiboye, 2015
"I am a Nigerian and I am just knowing about Gasha through this song. OMG! She is really talented. What a talented female artist Cameroon got. Big up Kenzo for futuring her, she killed the song with her opera voice, you must indeed buy her an aeroplane like she said loool"
2. Georges MOMO, 2015
"Big up Gasha"
3. paul barezi, 2015
"beautiful music big ups Gasha n Eddy K"
4. Olivia Fodouop, 2015
"Been playing this song on repeat since discovery yesterday, PROUD Cameroonian! Big up, Gasha & Eddy Kenzo :)"
Joseph Garakara -Idya Banana [Zimbabwe]
1. merenguero1026, 2011
"im not african but this sounds like soca calypso from the carib of honduras... so im guessin this is where the roots of our music is from beautiful music i must say ;) big up to Zimbabwe"
V.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6sv27w-eQw Kitole Official Video By Stephen Kasolo [Kenya]
1. Shanice Blessing, 2016
"waoo amazing one kitole big up, thumbs up for your dancers they are just making the song to be more than awesome👌👌👌👌👌"
Yemi Alade - Johnny (Nigeria)
1. ISAAC JUMA, 2016
"Yemi big up yourself....sexy woman..reminds me of the antique African ladysexy Yondo sister.....Africa hoyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee..a big chune"
2. djmaleda, 2016
"Love this tune. Big up my Nigerian massive. Nuff love.
"And he say i no do him like the west india they do"?"
"massice" = people (masses of people)
3. Sebenzile Magagula, 2016
"yemi rock big up strong girl💪😙"
4. Spade Guidingstar, 2016
This Song Is The Sh&t!* I love this tune. I played this song at wedding and the place went stupid! No one at the party never even heard it B4! This tune is hard! Big Up Yemi Alade!
*This word was fully spelled out.
MAFIKIZOLO ft Uhuru KHONA (official video) (South Africa)
1.Ras Sjamaan, 2013
"#1 tune! Everybody understands now that afrohouse is the future of music! Big up SA for putting it down."
"Afro House" is the music genre for this South African record.
2. Lulu M, 2013
"MAFIKIZOLO..... <3 <3 <3 u GIRL
Big up all the way from East Africa, TANZANIA :)
Ur songs never disappoint us. HAKUNA MATATA ~"
3. sd17 mufc, 2014
"Big Up South Africa!!!!!!!!!!!!"
4. Haroon Ebrahim Collier, 2014
"Beautiful African Queen, Stunning Voice, Well produced Song and Music Video, Wicked Beat, it's no surprise they won song of the year for this one, Big-Up Mafikizolo and Uhuru
Another commenter wrote that they won the MAMA award. [?]
5. Busy Kasanke, 2014
"song is a hit is UG Kampala. big up Mafikizolo"
"UG" = Uganda
6. Patrick Kamara, 2014
"No doubt, Khona will be the song of the year 2013. This is going to be a 'Khona Christmas' LOL. Love it here in SIERRA LEONE. Song hitting in all clubs, pubs and pubic transports.... I mean everywhere! Big up to Mafikizolo and Uhuru for making Africa proud."
7. Jolly twapstar, 2014
"wow such a nice beat and nice track. I enjoy this music so much anytime i listen to the music. Big up man. Mi from nigeria. Your music rock everywhere in my city"
8. gedza Mak, 2014
"U CAN ONLY UNDERSTAND THIS MUSIC WEN U VISIT SA###BIG UP PRETORIA"
9.. Daniel Adu, 2016
This tune is blazing hot in my stereos right here in GHANA and the replay button is RAPED! Big Ups NAFIKIZOLO....I dnt understand sh&t* in the song but it is a banger merhn"
"reply button is raped" = keeps on being touched; I've also seen this written (on other YouTube contemporary African music video discussion threads that the replay button is being "murdered" since it was hit so much.
*That word is fully spelled out in this comment.
"A banger" - a hot tune, the bomb
10. kingjoe mnand, 2014
"big up good music sa"
11. pat dad, 2014
"@Gh.... really proud to be African... BIG UPS; BEAUTIFUL SONG..."
12.john Ng'ang'a, 2014
"big tune buh i wish i knw the S.A language.big up khona."
13..Wangui Rae Malkia, 2015
This is about THE AFRICAN SPIRIT. AFRICAN POWER AFRICAN BEAUTY. the devil is a lier oh.My sistoh OH .. One Africa. BIG UP YOURSELF. BIGUP. Haha kumekucha."
The comment "the devil is a liar" might be in response to a number of comments that are either in support of or opposed to the inclusion in this video of the featured dancers who are known to be gay.
Here is the an example from that Mafikizolo video's discussion that ends with "props":
"Matthew Xiu, 2014
"Whoever is directing these Mafikizolo videos (and the video for Xigubu as well) is doing a GREAT aesthetic job. The outfits, scenery, everything is beautiful! The music is awesome too! #Props"
This is the only example of a comment that I recall reading in the period of time that I've been doing this particular research that ends with that word instead of the synonyms or closely related terms "big up" or "well done", "congratulations", or "bravo!"
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