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The Redefinition of Dope

Dope has lived a diverse slang life over the span of two centuries, only coming to its hip-hop adjectival sense of good or excellent in the last 35 years.

Slang functions as an anti-language. It operates as a thesaurus of the counterculture to societal vernacular, bilingualism tongued fluently within the same language.

 In slang, the world is often upside down – good is bad, and bad is good. In the counter-narrative of the counterculture, the villain is often the hero, thus the world is upside down, a rebellion against the status quo. Dope was the one world-upside-down adjective in the pantheon of first-generation hip-hop words of approval, which also included fresh: a new coining, and fly: a repurposed term from the slang of 1930s jazz musicians. Dope…smoke it, inhale it, breathe it, wear it, hear it, see it, be it.

What is dope? Dope is dope. Dope is fresh. Life is dope. Dope is fun. Dope is YOU. How one defines dope is personal, rolled up and blazed in subjectivity. We all have our dope vices; sometimes our dope vices have us. What’s your addiction? What’s dope to you? The world is addicted to dope, we just gave you a name, DOPEAHOLICS…

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