The word “juug,” after much research, seems to stem from no etymological root. Early 2015, the word reached peak interest in Google search trends, mostly in association with the Migos, whose musical output has helped it reach national attention. Back in 2011, the group released a Juug Season mixtape and have continued to reference the act throughout their career: “100 band juug, meet me at the safehouse,” for example.
Now, juug is of the hustle family, sibling to the act of hitting a lick and the finesse. But of course, these are three related acts with three similar but separate meanings. According to RichPoSlim of Awful Records, to “juug” is to “blatantly get over” on someone. To “finesse,” he says, “is getting over without anyone knowing in the present or the near future.” The differentiating factor, then, would be deception.
Upon being asked to use the word in a sentence, RichPoSlim responds with the following: “Whiteboy said he got $300 on him right now, I had to juug him.” Considering that context, the juug in question would involve simply taking the $300 by force or intimidation. A finesse, in that same scenario, might involve persuading the subject that his money would go toward buying him something.
All signs point to Atlanta with regard to the regional origins of the word “juug.” The Atlanta rapper Yung Ralph is also known as Juug Man (as referenced by Young Thug on his song “Stoner”: I’m back at it, Juug Man voice). There even exists a 256-page novel titled Juug Men, about Atlanta hustlers, released in 2015. The book’s Amazon description reads, partially: “Big Pat has always been on the grind, taking situations and making money off of them as well as being in the right place at the right time. From coke, to weed, to guns, and counterfeit money, it's all good in the hood because Big Pat is the Juug master.”
According to that book, then, “juug” can have a broader definition. The examples given involve broader activities, dealing in drugs, guns, and counterfeit money. Those activities themselves can be juugs and can involve smaller juugs, all under the larger umbrella of being a “juug man.”
Prominent users of the word “juug” include Migos, Future, 2 Chainz, Gucci Mane, Young Thug, and most recently New Jersey's own Fetty Wap. Fetty went so far as to dedicate a track (now Beyoncé's current favorite song) on his debut album to the act. On the song, spelled "Jugg" as opposed to the traditional "juug," he asks his girl to both jugg and finesse with him: "Baby girl is you gon' jugg with me baby? ayy/ Is you gon' finesse the plug with me baby? ayy."
On Future’s “Real Sisters,” he uses both “juug” and “finesse.” First, “20,000 off a juug, ain’t got a scale on me.” Second, “And fuck the plug, nigga I’m tryna take something/Finessed ’em out that cash, say he raped something.” The juug, in this case, could refer to any illegal activity. The finesse refers to misleading the plug, giving the plug the impression that they are working together but instead taking from the plug directly.
According to Atlanta rapper Father, to juug is “to steal, basically.” “Finesse, don’t juug,” he says. “To finesse is pure, to juug is impure.” Fellow rapper Slug Christ agrees: “To finesse is righteous, to juug is evil.” In this world, the finesse simply refers to getting the most out of a situation by manipulating the information. If you persuade a customer to pay twice the price of what you’re selling him, you’ve successfully finessed that customer. The customer may, for example, return and juug the seller once they have discovered themselves to have been finessed.
This brings us to why there are two Urban Dictionary definitions of the word. The first is the broader: “Act of profiting off illegal or legal activities. Involves scheming, lying, or tricking other part for a larger financial gain.” The example sentence reads “dawg, my folks need that work, lets make dis juug.” The second is the more specific: “To Straight Up Take a Nigga Shit (Car, Jewelry, Money, etc.) Right In Front of The Nigga Face. Not Stealin, But Juugin’.)” The example sentence reads, “Damn, Where You Get All This Money From? Oh, I Just Juug This Shyt From Oh Boy Down The Street. Nigga Flexin So I Took It.” Unnecessary capitalization aside, both definitions are equally important. In the first definition’s usage, a juug can include or involve the act of finessing. In the second definition’s usage, the smaller scale juug stands in opposition to the small-scale finesse in its blatancy.
So it seems, the word “juug” is flexible. It can refer to various activities (dealing in contraband, stealing, etc.) on smaller (a street robbery) to larger scales (a drug empire), may or may not necessarily involve a finesse, and can be seen in a positive (Migos attributing an entire season to the juug) or negative (Father and Slug Christ drawing a stark moral contrast between juuging and finessing) light.