Bling bling

From Academic Kids

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A bling bling-heavy album cover from The B.G.

"Bling Bling" is a 1999 hit hip-hop song by The B.G., featuring his Cash Money Records labelmates Juvenile, Lil' Wayne, Turk, Baby, and Mannie Fresh. The song, and its many follow-ups from the label, popularized a hip hop slang term which refers to expensive jewelry and other accoutrements. The term is thought to be derived from the onomatopoeia of a visual effect used to denote light glistening off metal or jewels.

The word gained acceptance in the late 1990s/early 2000s as a result of gangsta rap music and videos, which frequently glorified high class clothing, jewelry and other possessions.

Mainstream hip hop music's fixation on bling bling and other material and luxury goods has led to much criticism from media pundits and musical critics. They charge that the phenomenon promotes consumerism and materialism, and strengthens racist arguments that young African American men are incapable of higher or more virtuous or spiritual goals than material gain.

Some of the most vocal critics of "bling bling"-oriented music are alternative hip hop artists. An example of this is the group Dead Prez, from "Hip Hop" [1] (http://www.elyrics.net/go/d/Dead_Prez/It%27s_Bigger_Than_Hip-Hop):

All y'all records sound the same
I'm sick of that fake thug, R&B-rap scenario, all day on the radio
Same scenes in the video, monotonous material
Y'all don't hear me though
These record labels slang our tapes like dope
You can be next in line and signed; and still be writing rhymes and broke
You would rather have a Lexus? or justice? a dream? or some substance?
A Bimmer? a necklace? or freedom?

The extremely widespread proliferation of the term into the early 2000's inevitably lead to a degrading of its hipness value. With MTV itself even releasing a satirical cartoon commercial in 2004 showing the term being used by a rapper, then several other progressively less "streetwise" characters, then finally by a middle aged white woman who uses the term to describe her earrings to her elderly mother. It ends with the deadpan declaration: "RIP Bling-bling 1997-2004". The clip thus simultaneously recognizes the term's once attainment of an unusual level of popularity while cleverly underscoring the term's perceived aspect of "tiredness" in the current youth culture. Today, it is rare to find a mainstream rapper who uses the term in anything but a sarcastic or joking manner. Infact, you are more likely to hear the term "bling-bling" from a critic of rap music, then you are from an actual rapper or someone who is a fan of the genre.

The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary added Bling-bling as a new entry in its fifth edition (2002).


Related meaning

Bling bling can also mean something cheap in southwest Asia. For example, if you are looking for the fake Rolexes and Oakleys, you could try asking at the markets for the bling bling specials.

Bling is also the name of 2004's new thrill ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in Blackpool, England.

See also

External links

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