What does OG mean? English can be a tricky language. It borrows from so many other languages, and then on top of that, informal English uses a lot of slang. On the internet and in text, more people use informal English than they do formal English. This means there’s a lot of slang in these areas. The slang term addressed in this article is “OG.”
What Does “OG” Mean?
“OG” stands for “original gangster”.
It is a phrase that is often used in rap and hip hop culture. This later found its way into the internet and texting culture. The long-form of “OG” is “original gangster.” The meaning of “original gangster” is someone who is from “the old school” or someone who has a depth of knowledge or experience. If new gangsters think they are tough, then “OGs” are many times tougher.
Where does OG come from?
While OG has come to be a hip way of referring or showing respect to someone who’s an expert in any facet of life, its origins lie in gang culture. According to Steve Champion and former South Central Los Angeles gang member Anthony Ross in 2006, the term first started being used in the early 1970s by the LA-based Original Gangster Crips. The term original gangster was derived from the gang’s name and initially stood for “we’re the first.” Crips members would use the OG abbreviation as a shorthand when writing which part of the gang they belonged to (e.g., Original Eastside Crip or OG Eastside).
As the Crips expanded in the 1970s, and many new recruits were coming form different gangs, the definition of the term began to change. An OG became someone who was deeply devoted to their subset gang, and younger members of the gangs began to use it in reference to the elders. The term became so popular that even the Crips’s rival gang, the Bloods, started using it.
During the 1980s, OG began to enter the mainstream with its use in commercialized rap music. In songs and music videos, an OG was seen as someone in gang culture who was hip and impressive (an exceptional badass), and soon the term was used to describe people in the real world who exemplified those characteristics even when they had no gang affiliations. At the same time, the term continued to carry on its initial meaning in the sense that something was OG if it was the first of its kind or unique—that is, original.
One notable example of OG in the context of commercialized rap is in LA-raised rapper Ice-T’s single (and album) “O.G. Original Gangster,” which, at its peak, was #7 on 1991’s Billboard rap charts.
There also exists a popular strain of weed known as OG Kush. The origin of the strain’s name is debated, but according to Amsterdam-based cannabis-seed seller DNA Genetics, who’s responsible for marketing OG Kush seeds, the strain originally went by a different name, but was renamed OG Kush by the popular 1990s LA rap group Cypress Hill. Cypress Hill, apparently, was using OG in its sense of “exceptional.”
Did Ice-T invent the term OG?
Technically, no, he didn’t. But he might be the first person people usually reference when using the term. Calling something or someone OG (or O.G.) dates back to the early 90s, around the same time Ice-T released his fourth studio album, O.G. Original Gangster in 1991. The album went to number 15 on the Billboard 200 chart and remains Ice-T’s most successful record to date.
What is an “OG”?
Although “OG ” used to mean “original gangster,” current social media norms dictate that someone who is an “OG” is an original, iconic representative of a specific specialization or achievement. It can be taken to mean “the original,” in short.
Where Does the Term Come From?
The term “original gangster” is said to have come about in the 1970s. During this time, a Los Angeles street gang known as the crips was quickly expanding. Those who were called “OG” were some of the founding, or “original,” members. As a result, they were called the “original gangsters” or “OGs.”
While the term “gangster” is used in this context, the way it is currently used has little to do with actual gangsters, street gangs, or organized crime.
Now, many use it in general speech or in on-line communication to show that someone is an authority on something or has exceptional skill in a certain area.
Who Uses the Term “OG”?
On social media, a wide range of different people and ages use “OG.” A sampling from Twitter shows people from teens to their 40s using the term. It’s generally used with a little bit of irony or levity when used in this currently-common context. If it’s used seriously, it is more likely to mean “original gangster” or “intimidating founding member.” Sometimes, younger people who use it simply mean “the original,” with no other connotations attached.
When to Use the Term “OG”
You can use “OG” when you mean “the original” of a specific area. Keep in mind that as with most slang, “OG” should typically only be used in informal settings. It’s a fairly common term, so most people who speak English natively or spend a lot of time on websites that use a lot of English slang will understand what you mean when you say “OG.”
OG stands for original gangsters
As we’ve said above, OG stands for original gangster. And who were the real original gangsters? The likes of Al Capone, Bugs Moran, Owney Madden, and other bootleggers and mobsters of the Prohibition era.
What about OG Kush?
Because ‘OG’ can be used in many different situations, you might have also heard someone using the term when talking about strains of weed. OG Kush is a popular strain which, according to Wikileaf, also draws its name from ‘Original Gangster’ due to its “status as an old-school building block strain.”
Other potheads also refer to OG Kush as ‘ocean grown’ weed when it originates from the coast of California.
Modern use of OG
Today, people continue to use OG online, especially on social media when discussing pop cultures such as movies, TV shows and reboots.