by Mosi Reeves | April 9, 2013
Like so many music fads, "ratchet" jumped the shark before we realized it was even in the water. The slang word's origins date back to mid-2000s Dirty South gangsters like Lava House and Lil Boosie ("Do Da Ratchet") and Hurricane Chris (51/50 Ratchet). When L.A. club-rap stars like YG, Joe Moses, DJ Mustard and Tydolla$ign grew out of their fun-loving teen "jerkin'" phase, a new catchword was in order, so they looked to the recent past for inspiration. It's less a unique style than it is a reflection of a cultural moment. A continuum of minimalist rhythmic beats courses through the genre's history, and "ratchet" is just the latest manifestation, with Tyga's smash "Rack City" making it all go pop.
As a result, even your momma knows what "ratchet" means, so before she plays it out like she did "swag," let's revisit some of the hits to emerge from this small but noticeable blip in the hip-hop universe, from Mustard-produced cuts like Young Jeezy's "R.I.P." and 2 Chainz' "I'm Different," to viral smashes like Emmanuel & Philip Hudson's "Ratchet Girl Anthem" and Joe Moses' "Ratchets," to Bay Area slappers like Clyde Carson's "Slow Down," E-40's "Function" and LoveRance's "Up!"