ice t

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What does OG mean, and where does it come from?

He's not your everyday-type prankster.

Feb 3, 2021, 2:39 pm*

Internet Culture

 

Lauren L'Amie

As far as internet slang goes, “OG” is on the older end of the spectrum. If you haven’t caught on just yet to phrases like “he’s the OG” or “that was so OG,” it’s safe to say you’re a little behind. But enough dragging you, what is OG, and what does it mean in context?

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What does OG mean?

According to Urban Dictionary’s most popular definition, OG is a simple abbreviation that “used to mean Original Gangster.” It has since been further co-opted to mean simply “original” or “old school.”

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Urban Dictionary

OG history

Rapper Ice-T definitely didn’t invent the terminology, but he might be the first person you reference.

In mainstream culture, calling something or someone OG dates back to the early ’90s. Ice-T released his fourth studio album, O.G. Original Gangster in 1991. The album peaked at number 15 on the Billboard 200 chart and is Ice-T’s most successful record to date.

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In the record’s title song, “O.G. Original Gangster,” Ice-T provides probably the best definition to date:

I ain’t no super hero
I ain’t no Marvel Comic
But when it comes to game I’m atomic
At droppin’ it straight
Point blank and untwisted
No imagination needed, ’cause I lived it
This ain’t no fuckin’ joke
This shit is real to me
I’m Ice-T
O.G.
Ice-T may be spending his days playing the beloved Detective Tutuola on Law and Order: SVU, but his pioneering contributions to old-school hip-hop and gangster rap make him a true OG.
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Still, to describe something as OG dates back much further than Ice-T. Another popular reference point is the original gangsters, like Al Capone, Bugs Moran, Owney Madden, and other bootleggers and mobsters of the Prohibition era.

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According to Dictionary.com, the term also began appearing in the 1970s in reference to the Crips, a Los Angeles gang. Members also used “OG” when speaking about older members.

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You might also hear someone referencing O.G. when talking about strains of weed. OG Kush is a popular strain of marijuana both for regular stoners and even those who have limited knowledge of weed strains. According to Wikileaf, The strain also draws its name from “Original Gangster,” due to its “status as an old-school building block strain.” Though some interpretations refer to OG Kush as “ocean grown,” in reference to its origins on the coast of California.

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OG film and TV memes

Today, people continue to use the term on social sites when discussing pop culture, especially TV and movie reboots.

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OG on TikTok

On TikTok, users reference the term when talking about old songs, pop culture, or video games.

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Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance. 

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*First Published: Sep 18, 2018, 7:00 am