If you’re a fan of rap, you must have heard the term ‘OG’ before. Although the word has been used for quite a while, it seems to have recently resurfaced on the internet with sentences like “he’s the OG” or “that was so OG.” So what is OG, what does it even mean and where does it come from?
According to Urban Dictionary’s most popular definition, OG is an abbreviation of the words ‘Original Gangster’, which is what the term was used for at first. Since then however, it has also been used to simply mean that something or someone is ‘original’—meaning, the first of its kind.
Technically, no, he didn’t. But he might be the first person people usually reference when using the term. Calling something or someone OG (or O.G.) dates back to the early 90s, around the same time Ice-T released his fourth studio album, O.G. Original Gangster in 1991. The album went to number 15 on the Billboard 200 chart and remains Ice-T’s most successful record to date.
In the record’s title song, ‘O.G. Original Gangster’ Ice-T gives his own version of an OG definition:
I ain’t no super hero
I ain’t no Marvel Comic
But when it comes to game I’m atomic
At droppin’ it straight
Point blank and untwisted
No imagination needed, ’cause I lived it
This ain’t no fuckin’ joke
This shit is real to me
And yet, as OG as Ice-T is, the term dates back way further than the rapper.
As we’ve said above, OG stands for ‘original gangster’. And who were the real original gangsters? The likes of Al Capone (sometimes known by the nickname ‘Scarface’), Bugs Moran, Owney Madden, and other bootleggers and mobsters of the Prohibition era.
Because ‘OG’ can be used in many different situations, you might have also heard someone using the term when talking about strains of weed. OG Kush is a popular strain which, according to Wikileaf, also draws its name from ‘Original Gangster’ due to its “status as an old-school building block strain.” Despite its fame, though, its exact origins remain a mystery. Some claim that it’s a cross between staple Chemdawg and a hardy Hindu Kush landrace. It’s also possible that OG Kush emerged from undocumented bag seed as a distinct phenotype of some other existing strain.
The meaning of its name is also disputed—the ‘OG’ part of its name has been alternately said to stand for ‘ocean grown’, in reference to its origin along the California coast and even OverGrown.com, a now-defunct website that served as a resource for countless cannabis growers. One thing that’s not up for debate is OG Kush’s potency—its THC composition has been consistently measured at “between 20 per cent and 25 per cent,” wrote Wikileaf.
Today, people continue to use OG online, especially on social media when discussing pop cultures such as movies, TV shows and reboots.