Thursday, March 23, 2017

Africans' Use Of African American Vernacular English Terms In The Discussion Thread Of Skales' "Shake Body" Official YouTube Video (Part II: L-Z)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II in a two part post that documents the use of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) originated words and phrases by African commenters and others in the YouTube discussion thread for Nigerian singer Skales' "Shake Body" official video.

Pancocojams' linguistics posts document and consider the ways that African American Vernacular English, Caribbean Patois, African Pidgin English, and other Pidgin languages have been used and are now being used. As is the case with some other pancocojams linguistic posts, the post in this series document how Africans and others are combining slang (vernacular words & phrases) from African traditional languages, African Pidgin English languages, African American Vernacular English, British slang, Arabic adapted French slang and probably other language sources.

This particular two part series raises questions about possible changes and innovations in the use of African American Vernacular English by Africans, specifically in regards to the use of qualifiers for adjectives such as "cool", and "dope".

Part II provides comments from that discussion thread that include African American Vernacular English words/phrases beginning with the letter L - Z.

Click for Part I of this series. That post provides comments from that discussion thread that include African American Vernacular English words/phrases beginning with the letter A - K.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Skales for his music and thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.


Skales Published on Jul 22, 2014

Official music video to the worldwide certified hit, 'Shake Body' by SKALES.
This video is embedded for referencing purposes only. A considerable number of commenters on this video's discussion thread vehemently praised this song while negatively critiquing its video.


Pancocojams Editor's Note:
These African American Vernacular English word/phrase entries are given in bold font and in capitol letters followed by a brief definition. To highlight the fact that many of these slang definitions mean the same thing, I've used basically the same definition for those particular entries.

A number of vernacular terms have more than one colloquial meaning. This compilation only gives the meaning that I think is intended by the commenters.

The selected comments are from this 2014 Nigerian/Ivory Coast Afrobeat video: Skales- "Body Shake". That discussion thread was selected for this post instead of another one only because that was the discussion thread that I was reading when the idea occurred to me for this post. However, the wide use of African American Vernacular English terms/phrases also occurs in other Afrobeat and other contemporary African music YouTube discussion threads that I have read since at least 2014.

The comments from this discussion thread are given under those entries in chronological order by year, with the oldest dated selected comment presented first.

The featured slang words/phrases are written in italics when they are part of a long comment. Additions and corrections for these definitions are very welcome.

Each comment is given only once in this compilation although certain comments include more than one AAVE word/phrases. In those cases, I've referred readers back to the entry for the first vernacular word that is used in that comment.

There were a total number of 1,514 comments as of the date and time of this publication*. This compilation showcases selected examples of comments that include African American Vernacular English [AAVE} terms and phrases. I didn't puropsely include comments that may include examples of certain forms of 19th century and contemporary AAVE spelling such as "dis" because that spelling is also found in contemporary Nigerian Pidgin English and Jamaican Patois etc.

Although I read the entire discussion thread, I might have missed some examples. While these comments are described as being "selected", I've included a large number of the comments from that Skales' "Shake Body" discussion thread that include African American Vernacular English terms/phrases. I purposely excluded certain omments that had a lot of profanity or used what I call the "n word". I also usually purposely excluded one word comments such as "cool" or "dope" except for one example of each of those types of comments.
*I'm not sure how often YouTube updates their statistics, but as of March 23, 2017 at 7:25 AM when I began to work on Part II for this series, the same number of comments (1, 514) was given for this video and the total viewer count was 12,547,332. I believe that was the same number that was given when I published this post on March 22, 2017.
*I'm not sure how often YouTube updates their statistics, but as of March 23, 2017 at 7:25 AM when I began to work on Part II for this series, the same number of comments (1,514) was given for this video and the total viewer count was 12,547,332. I believe that was the same number that was given when I published Part I on March 22, 2017.


adjective; not good; the opposite of something that is (or someone who is) "killin it"; the opposite of something or someone who is "hot", "the bomb", etc. (This vernacular meaning of "lame" is the same as the vernacular meaning of the word "weak" given below.)

Victoria Oppong, 2016
"i like it but it is lame"
Judging from many other comments in the discussion thread for Skales' "Shake Body" official video, the first "it" probably refers to the song and the second “it” probably refers to the video.

adjective; very exciting, very stimulating; something that is great, wonderful, awesome; (This word is part of the African American Vernacular English "fire/hot" vernacular family).

Mike Jean-philippe, 2017
"I've been searching for this song for ages and I just now found it. Me and my dumb self finally decided to listen to the words and turns out he says "shake body" which led me here. Nigerian Music is lit though!

(The following comment is a reply to the questions "Where is Skales (the artist who sung this song) from and what type of music is it?"
Lady Charla, 2017
"Christi B. its from ivory coast style coupe decale...look up ...mokonzi dj...ivory coast music is lit too"

andrea pickron, 2017
"this song litπŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯"
Notice the flame pictorial icons at the end of this comment reinforcing the fact that "lit" means flames/fire. Flames are also found at the end of other comments such as the one for "murdered" and one for "sh&t" below.

verb; vanquished all his or her competitors; did an excellent job (excelled in what he or she was doing; "Murdered" has the same vernacular meaning as "killed it"; "slayed").

Sweetness, 2017
"Much love from South Sudan πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡Έ Skales Murdered this beat πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ™Œ"
"Much love" (and "much respect") are vernacular phrases that probably originated in Jamaica.

oe khaled, 2016
"skales the murderer

adjective; very good
*I'm not sure that this vernacular use of the word "nice" originated in or is even used by African Americans. However, I wanted to document this usage for the folkloric record.

I kept reading "nyc" in a number of YouTube discussion threads for Afrobeat music and finally figured out that the letters "nyc" in West African music and dance discussion threads usually didn't mean "New York City" but were instead a [West African originated?] vernacular way of spelling the word "nice" (meaning something is "very good").

Grace Mauya, 2015
"waoooo!!!!itz nyc....mwaaaahaa i lyk it"
Waoooo!!!!! It's nice...mwaaahaa I like it".

Nabou Sarr, 2015
"niceuh song much love from senegal"
"niceuh" = "nice one"

Another example of the use of "nice" is given in the comment below in the entry for "Rocked".

verb, publicly serves as a positive example of a particular entity (nation, race, community, music genre, cause, etc); publicly stands up for a nation, race, community, music genre, cause. etc

The Sally Manuel, 2015
"Yesss reppin Eritrea too! :)"

John Kinyanjui, 2016
"Kenya representing.. Big up!"
I believe that “Big Up" originated in Jamaica, but it is also appears to be widely found in many West African Afrobeat music/dance YouTube videos.

verb; heavily play [a particular record]

blessing james James, 2015
"Nice song from Skales..we rock this song here in Asia club..."

noun; definition from
"Selling out" is a common idiomatic pejorative expression for the compromising of a person's integrity, morality, authenticity, or principles in exchange for personal gain, such as money.[1] In terms of music or art, selling out is associated with attempts to tailor material to a mainstream or commercial audience; for example, a musician who alters his material to encompass a wider audience, and in turn generates greater revenue, may be labeled by fans who pre-date the change as a "sellout."
The comment by oke eva, 2014 in the entry for "dope" in Part I includes the word "sellout".

SHADY [definition "a"
adjective; a deceitful person

SHADY definition [b]
a person who "throws shade" (i.e. insults someone else in a sly and/or clever/witty manner)

[I'm not sure which definition is intended for this particular example:]

PE Cornal, 2015
"+iBeautyiStyle Please explain to me how I'm shady if I just PRAISED the Nigerian culture?Amuse me please."

noun, something that is the best at something (or someone who is) the best (The vernacular use of the word "sh&t" may have developed as an opposite word play the same way that the African American Vernacular English meaning of the word "bad" is "very good" developed. (And/or) perhaps this meaning developed because "sh&t" constitutes the "nitty gritty", pure essence of life. After all, "sh&t" helps plants grow and flourish).

The word "sh&t" is fully spelled out in all of the following comments.

"Round of applause... sh&t dopeee"
Part I of this series includes a vernacular definition of "dope" and comment examples from this featured video's discussion thread.

TdotJohn, 2014
toronto sending love sh&ts fire
Part I includes a definition of and comment examples of the vernacular term "fire".

Fredo416, 2014
This sh&t a banger frfr πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯
"Frfr" probably means "for real for real" [which is an African American Vernacular English phrase meaning "reallY", without any doubt.

Notice the pictorial flame icons which signify that the song is hot.

"Banger" is a British originated slang word. In the context of this comment, "banger" means a hot, explosive song (a hit record).

Here's information about the word "banger" from indicates that "banger" is a word that originated in Britain. Here's the relevant definition from that page: "banger" - "a type of firework that explodes loudly"

King james, 2015
"bedu !!! You know you need a big ass to dance to this sh&t !! lol"

Luciddreamer333, 2015
This sh&t FIYAH!!FOR REAL this coming from a African American guy.and the woman in here! :-/ Uhhhhh!! Damn

Well i guess its not coincidence i love it, of course the roots, the spirit of Africa is in my Dna!
The word "sh&t" is also colloquially given as "ish" as in Eniola ade's 2014 comment that is given in Part I under the entry for the word "cool".

SN M1, 2017
"My shiiiiiiit!!!! πŸ’ƒπŸ½πŸ’ƒπŸ½πŸ’ƒπŸ½"
"My shiiiiiit" means that this song is really "my jam" [or in Jamaican Patois, "This is my chuneeeee". Another Jamaican Patois example is "Tuneeee!"]

heavy duty Henry, 2017
"this sh&t is my jam."
Part I includes a definition of and comment examples of the vernacular word "jam".

adjective; a very complimentary descriptor of something that is (or someone who is) great, wonderful, awesome [in the context of urban cultures], "The bomb" is one synonym for "sick".

Read the definition for "bumpin" in Part I of this series. A sick beat is one that is really bumpin. A musician who performs a really sick beat is said to be "killin it".

It seems to me that "The beat is sick" implies that it is very written or performed very well. Therefore, you don't have to add qualifiers such as "The beat is really sick" or "The beat is very sick". On YouTube comment threads and elsewhere in order to really emphasize that point, a person might add vowels to extend that word- for example "The beat was siiiiick" or "That dance was dooooope".

Augustine Flahn, 2014

Osberg, 2014
"sick beatz"
Using a "z" in place of a "s" is considered a "hip" way of spelling words.

TheAisha2287, 2014
"Love the music but I can't watch the video. It's hurting my eyes...anyways the beat is sick though
What is the "in" contemporary way of saying "hip" [being up to date with the latest urban cultures]? I think "fly" is no longer used [by African Americans], but I'm not sure about that.

Jaynette Ak, 2014
"The beat is so sick"

fanny Wilson, 2015
"Great music but the dacing is not good enough. i believe the music would have so sick plus!!!! if the dancing was also as good as the music. good job still

khairiya wazir, 2015
"This song is yaga even when u say u won't dance u must dance to this sick beat
I don't know what language "yaga" is from and what that word means.

Bryan Alister, 2016
Sick... Mad Mi Boss. Sounds Good.
I'm not sure what "mad mi" means in the context of this comment. Two vernacular definition for "boss" and examples of that vernacular term are given in Part I of this pancocojams series.

Makeya Makeya, 2016
"so sick I never get tired watching of this song & lovely dance
from Ethiopia">
I think that the commenter means:
This song is so sick (i.e. very good]. I never get tired of wathing the video of this song and its lovely dance.

noun; a referent for a person's female sibling, or a referent used by females or males for females who share certain experiences (such as being from the same nation, community, neighborhood, race, ethnic group and/or who are part of the same social scene, or promote the same cause/s); calling a female "sista" (sister) means that you are acknowledging your kinship with her

Mariama Bangura, 2015
"Thx" = thanks

In contrast to a number of comments in this post that included the word "bro", this is the only comment that I found in that discussion thread in which someone referred to another commenter as my sista [sister].

Michael shuffler, 2015
"Shoutout to DJ-AMIN, best African DJ in Chin.a

Hills D1 year ago
Yassss. Shoutout to all my Cameroonians 😍
"Yass" is a relatively new [early 2000s?] vernacular way of spelling "yes". I'm not sure where this custom came from.

adjective, [in the context of this discussion thread]. refers to something that is performed really well; something that is hot (the bomb, on fire etc).

Donna Star, 2016
"This song is smokin!

verbal phrase; in the context of this discussion thread, this is a command that people get more excited [turn up the volume of their excitement]; "Getting crunk" is a synonym for "getting wild, but it also means to let go of your inhibitions and be more authentically yourself

toni manning, 2015
Aaayyyyyyye!!!!! Turn up..πŸ˜„!!
This comment may be a call for people to "turn up" or it may be a description of people (or the commenter) being turned up.

adjective. a description of people who are very excited by/at a music scene or some other social event; a synonym for people who are "crunked"; turnt (crazy, wild, drunk), and/or people who are free of their inhibitions and more authentically themselves

Remi S, 2016
"Turned the hell up"
This comment might describe a scene where people are "turnt up" or where the commenter was "turned up".
It also may be a call to for peopl"turn up"definition "a"].

adjective; [in the context of this discussion thread, a description of something that is the opposite of "the bomb", the same meaning as "lame"

dbreeze ronkaku, 2014
"I live skales but this is weak...+ dude d french verse sounds like xcellente's rhyme....#youcandomore
"I live" is probably a typo for "I like".

adjective; in the context of this discussion thread, something that is very good, exciting, stimulating, "the bomb"

renea brown, 2014
"omg this song plus the beat is wicked!!! JAMAICA
The Internet phrase "omg" is often actually pronounced "oh m gee". "Jamaica" at the end of that comment may mean that the commenter is from Jamaica.

[revised March 31, 2017]

a vernacular word that since at least the 1970s is usually associated with African American Hip Hop culture; In the title of the American Hip Hop television music video series Yo! MTV rap; the word "yo" is used as an exclamation whose meaning is similar to "Hey!".

"Yo" used at the end of a sentence, might mean "man" or "dude" or might just be a place marker that connotes "hipness" and African American Hip Hop urban culture but has no literal meaning.

Example He was killin it yo.]
In the context of this compilation, "yo" isn't the same as the African American Vernacular English "yo'" as a form of the word "your".

Example - Yo mama [Common insult phrase or beginning of an insult in the Dozens.]

This concludes Part II of this pancocojams series.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

1 comment:

  1. Here's a link to Part I of a three part series on the African American (and other Americans) use of the word "cool" that I published in large part because of this series: How The Vernacular Meaning Of "Cool" Has Changed Among African Americans

    The second post in that series showcases the African American Funk group The Times performing the 1981 song "Cool" and presents selected comments from five videos' discussion threads that include the word "cool" as well as comments that include more contemporary African American Vernacular slang superlatives. .

    Part III of that series showcases Funk singer, songwriter, musician Prince and presents selected comments from two videos' discussion threads that include the word "cool" as well as more contemporary African American Vernacular slang superlatives. The links for those posts are given in Part I of that series.