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Posted By on April 15, 2008

Hyphy Movement

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Hyphy (pronounced HYE-fee) is a style of music and dance primarily associated with the Bay Area hip hop culture. The Hyphy movement started in the early '90s but began to re-emerge in the early 2000s as a response from Bay Area rappers against commercial hip hop for ignoring the Bay's influence on the hip hop industry. Although the "hyphy movement" has just recently seen light in mainstream America, it has been a long standing and evolving culture in the Bay Area. Bay Area rapper Keak Da Sneak was the first to use the term on an album.

Hyphy music is distinguished by gritty, pounding rhythms and in this sense can be associated with the Bay Area as crunk music is to the South; however, contrary to popular belief, the musical aspect of the Hyphy movement has very few similarities to crunk music as it is dictated by more up-tempo beats. An individual is said to "get hyphy" when they act or dance in an overstated, fast paced, and ridiculous manner. Those who consider themselves part of the Hyphy movement would describe this behavior as "getting stupid" or "going dumb." In contrast to much of popular American culture where these phrases would be considered negative or even insulting, Hyphy is distinguished by taking this kind of behavior as a form of pride.


A particular feature of hyphy culture in the Bay Area are sydeshows, commonly called "sideshows," when one or more cars does multiple doughnuts by turning sharply and flooring the gas pedal – often in the middle of an intersection. Other car maneuvers include "Yoking" and "ghostriding." Hyphy culture focuses heavily on the usage of alcohol, cannabis and ecstasy. Dancing and partying are important aspects of hyphy culture, though it is not necessary to be intoxicated to participate.

Bay Area hyphy producers include Rick Rock, Traxamillion, E-A-Ski, Droop-E, and Sean T.


Like many Bay Area trends, Hyphy has a unique culture of slang. Below is a partial list of notable slang terms in hyphy culture:
This is a core list of slang associated with hyphy culture, it is not meant to be exhaustive. 'itz cookies' means its nothing, "i got it"


  • "Gas-brake dippin'" – Driving while quickly alternating between stomping on the gas and the brake. Also known as "Yokin'".
  • "Ghost Ridin' the Whip" – Driver walks alongside slow-rolling car with the door open, giving the appearance that the car is driving itself. Passengers ride with all the doors open and sometimes leap out of the moving cars, sometimes dancing on top of the hood.
  • "Going Dumb/18 Dummy, Getting Stupid/Silly/Ignorant/Retarded/Hyphy, & Ridin' the Yellow Bus" – Bay Area style of having fun; the aforementioned terms almost always involve the consumption of mind-altering drugs, such as MDMA, cannabis, or alcohol.
  • "Grapes" – Specially cultivated strains of cannabis which are very potent and appear to be purple in color, commonly grown in the Bay Area.
  • "Runner"/"Ripper" – A girl who is promiscuous.
  • "Scrapers" – Vintage four-door American sedans with whistling pipes, oversized spinning rims and a powerful stereo system. They hang low in the back and send off sparks when one is "gas-brake dippin." However, the style today is raising the end of the car up high. This term is used to describe bicycles as well, commonly known as "scraper bikes."
  • "Shake dem Dreads" – Bobbing your head to the beat of a song very rapidly, for those who have dreads or cornrows.
  • "Slapper"/"Slumper" – A song with particularly loud bass and/or Hyphy connotations.
  • "Stunna Shades" – Oversized glasses that people wear when they get hyphy. They help accessorize the sagging jeans and white T-shirts that are part of hyphy fashion. "Stunnas" are frequently aviator style glasses, but often more elaborate or attention getting.
  • "Thizz" – A slang term for MDMA, popularized by Mac Dre. Thizz is also the name of Mac Dre's record label.
  • "Thizzle Dance" – Not necessarily one dance, but a variety of dances usually involving strange movements similar to a drunk person. As Mac Dre says in the song "Get Stupid (Remix)," "It don't look right if you really ain't drunk."
  • "Yadadamean?"/"Yadadasayin?" – A phrase popularized by Keak Da Sneak meaning "Do you know what I mean?" or "Do you know what I am saying?" The 'dada' usually signifies rolling the letter R, however, for effect and for people who cannot roll their Rs, the informal 'didi' (pronounced did-I) is appropriate.
  • "Yay Area/The Yay" – Another nickname for the Bay Area of California. Yay, or yayo, can also be a reference to cocaine.
  • "Yee" – Originating from the streets of Richmond, a noise made to express exuberance.


Oakland is the capital of the Hyphy Movement. Additionally, San Francisco, Vallejo, Richmond, and other cities in Northern California are key areas in the hyphy movement.


how to go hyphyMajor entertainers from the Bay Area who are considered hyphy artists include:

  • Dem Hoodstarz
  • E-40
  • The Federation
  • Keak Da Sneak
  • Mac Dre
  • Mistah F.A.B.
  • Nump
  • The Pack
  • San Quinn
  • The Team
  • Traxamillion
  • Too Short
  • Turf Talk

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