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 the use of that Jamaican originated term "big up" in a 2013 YouTube music video's discussion thread - "Xigubu" by DJ Ganyani ft FB (Fiesta Black).
That video is also showcased in this post.
One comment from that video's YouTube discussion thread that provides a summary of that song and two comments from that same source which explain the meaning of the Tsongan [Northern part of the nation of South Africa] term "Xigubu" are presented after that embedded video.
Click http://pancocojams.blogspot.com/2016/09/examples-of-term-big-up-in-youtube.html for a pancocojams post that documents the use of "Big up" in seven other YouTube discussion threads of contemporary African music videos.
A pancocojams post that also showcases the video "Xigubu" and presents additional comments from that video's discussion thread will also be published ASAP and that link will be included in this post.
*added as an update - 9/9/2016
for a somewhat related post.
The content of this post is presented for linguistic, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.
All copyrights remain with their owners.
Thanks to DJ Ganyani and Fiesta Black for their musical creativity. Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publisher of this video 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
I'm not sure when "big up"/"big-ups" was first used in the nation of South Africa. However, there are a number of examples of their uses in South Africa- for instance, "big ups" is used in the ranking scale for Holiday Inns https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g312586-d1139671-r225060228-Holiday_Inn_Express_Sandton_Woodmead-Sandton_Greater_Johannesburg_Gauteng.html “big ups!” 5 of 5 stars Review of Holiday Inn Express Sandton-Woodmead".
To cite another example, Big Ups is the title of a South African anthology series of popular short stories for juveniles. The first Big Ups was published in April 2013 and a Big Ups #4 edition was published in 2016.
SHOWCASE VIDEO - DJ Ganyani ft FB - Xigubu (Official Music Video)
GanyaniEntertainment, Published on Apr 26, 2013
Click http://www.last.fm/music/Ganyani/+http://www.last.fm/music/Ganyani/+wiki information about Ganyani Tshabalala. That page briefly mentions the Ganyani's work with "popular Fiesta Black".
Here's a comment that summarizes the record "Xigubu" (link given below)
Lwandlekazi Mda, 2014
@ Tjai She had a bottle of jameson in her hands, she didn't have any plans then a BBM came through announcing that DJ Ganyani and friends will be playing. The she continues to say that the beat will hit you hard meaning that she's having a good time wherever dj Ganyani was playing.
Here's a link to a question about the similarities and differences between "BBM" and phone texting: http://forums.crackberry.com/native-blackberry-os-apps-f152/so-whats-difference-between-bbm-texting-122117/
Here's one comment from that page:
johna1234, 12-24-08, 03:23 PM "bbm is blackberry messenger, opnly [only] those with bb's can use it...free text service basically."...
Here are two comments of a number of comments that explain the meaning of the word "Xigubu":
“Jarboo” Makhoba, 2014
..."The language is called tsonga, one of the ethnic languages spoken in the Northern parts of South Africa (Limpopo province). The lady sings about "xigubu" - traditional drum, which somehow "xibha nkofu" - 'goes hard' - rather sounds nice."
Rodney Ngwenya, 2015
"+nicolas nemarimila Sorry man Nico but you got the translation all wrong. Xigubu is a drum, yes. But "xiba ngopfu" doesn't translate to "beat louder" the best translation I can think of is that "the beat of the drum is every enjoyable""
"Every" is probably a typo of "very".
SELECTED COMMENTS FROM THE OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO DISCUSSION THREAD FOR DJ GANYANI FT FB - XIGUBU
The comments below represent a large portion of the comments in that discussion thread to date [September 10. 2016] that include the phrases "Big Up" or "Big Ups". However, this compilation doesn't purport to be all of the comments in that discussion thread to date that include those terms.
Notice that a number of these comments include African American Vernacular English (AAVE) terms such as "dope" & "track" and/or some other Jamaican Patois terms such as "tune" and "massive".
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. Some of the commenters mention their nationality in their comments.
These comments are presented in chronological order 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.
1. Mehluleli Sibanda
"Bigup to Dj Ganyani 2013 is your year Brother"
2. mukharactor muk
"purely and truly south african track.big up 2u tatani ganyani"
"I salute his talent and hard work. Yoh, I the video. Big Up Ganyani!!! I personally like your album, job well done!"
4. thobile mcobothi
"nice track, big up"
5. Mbusiswa Nyuswa
"I swear, I thought this was a Ganyani ft Busiswa track. Nice video and track, big upz"
Busiwa (Bucie) is another contemporary South African female singer.
6. Chwayita Oniwe
"<3 stunning song*thinking of my baby bro who is 6 when he sings along"shika move oh shika move"BIG Up DJ Ganyani and FIFI"
Fifi = singer Fiesta Black
"I like the song, l love the album. Thank you Mr Ganyani for house groove 8 is on fire, can you please release what a feeling video awesome track big up."
8. Gcobisile Matafeni
"Big up to Dj Ganyani, this is a banger"
I think that "banger" is originally a British English slang term that means something that is very good. That word has the same or similar meaning as the AAVE term "the bomb".
9. Yonela Mzondi
"dopest track ever big up 2 Ganyani"
10. Andile Themba
"Graet Song South African artists doing well. Big Up #MzansiMusic"
11. Thabiso Ngwane
"wow......i cant believe that this song has reach 2.1 million view.....big-up to SA house fans"
As of the date and time this pancocojams post was published (September 10, 2016, 9:42 AM) this video had 3,632,454 total views and 1,427 comments.
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