The term thug actually originated in the 1800’s, then it reffered to a group of professional robbers and murderers in India who strangled their victims. In today’s society it can be heard the most in hip-hop and black culture. Some of society’s most loved hip-hop artists enjoy being called or referred to as a thug. For example, there’s Slim Thug and let’s not forget the late great Tupac who had a popular album called “Thug Life”. So I wonder if the original meaning of the word is in fact a bad person why does today’s society glorify it so?
Since majority of the time that the word is mentioned it has something to do with rap artists let’s take a look at those musicians as a whole. The outward appearance of a rap artist is usually smothered in tattoos, in addition to sagging pants and loads of eye-catching jewlery. And other things that are associated with rappers are arrests, controversy and a certain ruggedness that can’t always be put into words. So to an untrained eye they do appear as thugs. But are they? Do they rob for a living? I should hope not considering the amount of money that they’re always rapping about as a result of their musical capabilities. Do they murder for a living? Maybe in a former point in their life but as of now I think a career in the spotlight would put a hault on such a business. And majority of them probably have never even been to India much less be from there. So is there a different meaning to the term thug? Of course there is, we’re redefining it every single day. The common meaning is a cruel or vicious ruffian, robber or murderer. Well I guess in the common sense of the word a rap artist can indeed be a thug. But again why is that so celebrated in the music world but not so much in other facets of entertainment? Allow me to elaborate.
A couple of days ago the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, got out of line with Lydia Moore, the mother of Kenyon Martin, a gifted forward who plays for the Denver Nuggets. Because Cuban is a sore loser and hated the fact that the Nuggets were due to eliminate his Mavericks he pointed to Mrs. Moore and proclaimed that her son was a thug. In fact the fans in Dallas were calling the team the Denver Thugs. Ouch! Needless to say neither Kenyon nor his mother weren’t happy about the comment. However isn’t it fascinating that some people love the term while others detest it. The Denver Nuggets is in fact a team who has had their share of trouble but as far as we know none of them are robbers and murderers. They’re just gifted basketball players. But on the surface their players do look a lot like some of those celebrated “thug” musicians. So another question rears its head. In today’s society does it matter what you truly are or does it matter more what you look like? Kenyon and majority of his teammates are covered in tattoos and off the court they have on their share of jewels but are they thugs? Of course others will disagree with me when I say this but to answer the question plainly, no, they aren’t thugs.
The word is a negative one that’s been turned into a celebratory term but the truth is that it is a negative word no matter how you spin it. From what I see Jay-Z is no thug and neither is Carmelo Anthony or Kenyon Martin. Sure they all may have been rough around the edges in the past but they aren’t making a living from it. And most importantly they’ve grown up in many ways because had they been real thugs, Cuban would’ve gotten his teeth knocked out by the Bad Ass Yellow Boy (the tattoo that Kenyon has on one of his pectoral muscles). I leave on this note. Why is it that our beloved basketball players get labeled as thugs when they don’t fight on the court nearly as much as hockey players do? Makes you think about watching how you use the word thug.