Thot Is Dead: A Look at Google Trends For Rap Slang

The global bae is boxing out the global thot.

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Complex Original

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Yesterday, my boss at my day job asked me what "thot" means. The circle was complete. I cringed lovingly, then reluctantly told her. She said, "Wow, that's brilliant. I can't wait to use that." For her own sake, I responded "Please don't. Thot is dead."

We have a sense for these things. For example, when Diplo tweeted "tater thot" a couple months ago, it felt like it was high time for everyone to go home. Rap vernacular comes and goes, but with the power of Google Trends, we can actually look at when these words peak. If you've ever wondered whether you were late, or if you want to avoid making the same puns everyone else made a year prior, come and explore the life and death of some of the words that pay the bills over at Urban Dictionary. Then you can 1. go clown your friends whenever they use outdated language (e.g. "yolo"), 2. bandwagon one of French Montana's yet to be globally espoused etymological sublimations (e.g. "alphet"), or 3. try to bring back a vestige that our public vocabulary all but abandoned years ago (e.g. "thizz").


Let's start with "yolo," a word which was apparently a self-fulfilling prophecy for its own use. We appear to have moved far beyond its apex, which it reached some time in 2012. Its meteoric rise was closely associated with Drake's "The Motto" (early 2012), and the end of its short life span was punctuated by an SNL parody song (early 2013). Popular queries include "what does yolo," "what yolo mean," and "swag yolo." Which leads us to our next subject: "swag."


"Swag" appears to have some longevity in the game. Though it reached a peak in 2012, when it was still popular to repeat the word in perpetuity, or to replace the affirmative response "yes," it has since dropped into a plateau of steady interest for the last couple of years. Popular queries include "my swag," "the swag," "swag boy," and "tumblr swag." Just to remind you, these are all real things that many real humans have typed into their computers. The people need answers.


Moving on to a personal favorite: "fanute." As you can fanute from the graph, the word was nonexistent before French Montana unwittingly invented it on "Stay Schemin'." Since then, it had its moment, and has since bounced its way out of human-computer curiosity and relevance. But French has not left us hanging. Ever since he tweeted the word "alphet," his amazing misspelling has all but eclipsed its correctly spelled predecessor, and will, with any luck, fanute the word "outfit" altogether.

Finally, "thot" vs. "bae," which exists as real life tension for many people. As you can see, "thot" is finally on its decline. "Bae" is still skyrocketing. Sure, we can attribute this discrepancy to various analytics that we don't understand or to languages we don't care to investigate (for example, "bae" is killing it in Brunei and Burma right now), but let's just say it's a new age for the world. Everyone is getting married, people are staying together, and the global bae is boxing out the global thot.

Alex Russell is pro-bae, anti-thot. Find him on Twitter @nonmogul.

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