No “SWAG” for You: A study of the most Overrated and Overused Word in Today’s Pop Culture

Posted: April 19, 2011 by Gregory 'Arteest' Akers in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Hello ladies and gentleman, boys  and girls, lovers and most certainly haters. Today we are going to talk about the word SWAG. Now I know some of you may be looking at the screen, with that head tilted to the side puppy-dog puzzled look right now. And if you are, you sir or mam have been withheld from pop culture for at least the last five years. And that, is just sad. But today we are not here to reprimand or commend you on your knowledge or lack thereof  of the word Swag. We are here to discuss why I do not like the word. No! Not liking it understates the pure nails-on-a-chalkboard hatred that engulfs my ears every time I hear the word. I utterly and totally despise the word SWAG. If swag was in a desert and needed my saliva to survive, I wouldn’t give a spit. Its mere S.T.I. image inducing phonetic, grinds my gears to a borderline systems overload and a “Hulk Smash” reflex. To explain why I hate it so much, I really just need to say two words: Soulja Boy. Ughhhhh! But, to solely blame him would be irresponsible and wouldn’t hold accountability to the countless other influential pop-culture culprits who have used and continue to uphold that God-awful word. Names like Lil B, T.I., and Lil Wayne come to mind.

What Is Swag? (Past)

To get to the basis of why I’d like to r.i.p. the word Swag, we must first discuss exactly what it is. If we were to go back in time on a Magic School Bus we would probably see pirates heisting ships to get “booty” and “swag.” Now now everyone, settle down. Let’s not confuse these words with the words in Soulja Boy’s atrocious and utterly degrading single, “Booty Got Swag.” Starting to see why I also hate Soulja Boy? Oh, you will. “Booty” back in those days referenced the “loot” or the items of value that pirates stole. And swag in that sense followed the Wikipedia spawned acronym: Stuff We All Get. It is my understanding that the two words were pretty much synonymous.

What is Swag? (Present)

Now, blasting back into the present, we look at today’s meaning of the word swag. Oh and by the way, I know that today’s swag also references free promotional gear that companies are known to give away. That is not the swag I wish a violent, ceremonial death upon. The swag I am referencing is the Swag that is an abbreviation for the word “Swagger” and is also often referred to as “Swagga.” According to, Swag in its simplest terms refers to, “the way one carries their self.” This definition is close, but not the same meaning as what you will find for the word Swagger on That’s right, Swagger is in the real dictionary. Anywho, merriam-webster says “Swagger” is, “to conduct oneself in an arrogant or superciliously pompous manner; especially : to walk with an air of overbearing self-confidence.” They also write that it is synonymous with the words “Boast” and “Brag.” Ah Ha! We’re getting somewhere ladies and gentleman. It is this definition that gets to the core of what swag really is; An uplifting phrase for the braggadocios, low self-esteemers who need to label their cockiness in a way that attempts to make them seem less cocky, but in my book, fails. Me being a person who finds arrogance to be a very negative trait, you are probably beginning to see why I hate the word so much.

Don't Hate Me, Hate My Swag

Where Is Swag?

With swag being what I like to refer to as the most overused, overrated word in today’s pop-culture, it has to exist everywhere right? Right? Here are some places you can find the word Swag.

Song Titles: Been Had Swag, Check My Swag, Dope Boy Swag, Found My Swag, Get My Swagger Back, I Got Swag, My Swag, Peepin Swagg, Pledge Allegiance to the Swag, Pretty Boy Swag, Swag, Swag Back, Swag FluSwag Me Out, Swag Sex, Swag Surfin, Swag Through the Roof, Swag OD, Swagga Talk, Swagga on 100, Swagger Daggers, and Turn My Swag On and many more. (Can you guess how many of these songs feature Soulja Boy?…It will surprise you…or not. LoL)

Artist names: SWAG, Cali Swag District, King Swagg, and more.

Websites:,,,,,, and many more.

A few songs that actually almost redeem Swag/Swagga/Swagger: Swagger Like Us, Swagga, and Swag Surf.

My Case Against Swag

Reason 1: Most people who use the word swag don’t actually have any. Swag is associated with money, riches, luxury, being fresh, flashy, and F.L.Y. (Pun Intended) Like the majority of the songs emphasize and flaunt, swag has a direct correlation to money and owning things that having a lot of it can buy. I don’t mind these rich people talking about they have swag. Because if swag is associated with money, than they really do have swag. It’s the no-name rappers, the college kids (who in most cases are broke), your average person basically. If you are not in an upper level tax bracket, I feel as though Swag should not be a part of your vocabulary.

Reason 2: I am not a fan of fads or trends. When the phrase “Bling Bling” was popularized in the late nineties  it basically dominated the airwaves and television screens. And it was good until we realized it would remain in pop-cultures lexicon for the next four to six years. I treat the word Swag in a similar case, except I think that because I’m a lot older now and less influential, what is associated with swag doesn’t appeal to me. If I were materialistic or full of myself and always trying to keep up with the latest trends like most of today’s youth is, maybe I’d throw the word swag around as if it were my life’s blood. Just blurt it out at random times in a fashion that some people whose names I will not reveal do.

So there you have it. Swag sucks! Originality is king. Get a new motto people. Stop being sheep! Unless you’re a rich sheep. Then you can brush your teeth with swag, smack peons with swag, and get it tatted on your chest like Tupac if you fancy to. But until then, upgrade and update your lexicon and think of a new, better catch phrase. NO SWAG FOR YOU!

  1. […] all of its overt bravado, “swagger” and its “I’m better than you because…” lingo, I feel it’s […]


  2. […] ready to have a good time. It was moreso their pure style and what some may refer to as “swag” that drew me and many other guys eyes into their directions. It was not unusual to see […]


  3. Maryem says:

    I have to agree I hate the word swag. Although I never fully understood,what it meant, great article.


  4. No NOT swag says:

    yeah like you see someone with the lastest gadget everyone and i mean everyone starts saying :oooHHHoooh swaaaag ..and shake their heads in agreeing, and like ask someone if they are going to the party they’s be like: wag bro swag….like no. not swag. i hate that word so much


  5. Miggy says:

    I love you so much for posting this article. This explains my hatred against that stupid word. Like you said, “originality is king”, and I agree to that!


  6. Dillon says:

    swag is for children. class is for men….


  7. Anon says:

    I have read that S.W.A.G. was a term used in the 60s by homosexuals as secret lingo to distinguish themselves. It stood for: “Secretly We Are Gay”. I don’t know how accurate this is but it certainly is humorous when you hear such moronic “rappers” such as Soulja Boy say “I got SWAG!”


    • Arteest says:

      I’ve never known the word Swag to be an acronym for anything. But hey, if what you say is true than it does make me laugh just a little bit harder at these young kids out here throwing the word around as if it’s the only word in their lexicon. LoL


  8. seb says:

    I hate that word with my soul


  9. Blunt says:

    Ill start saying it again when im rich


  10. deiondrick says:

    Guy:Dude i just got this new Video game*** .. ( x.x i had a few mistakes )****


  11. deiondrick says:

    the way ppl say swagg isnt how u described it… well im a 17 (by the way i dont know how i got to this page) but swagg is used the same way u would use cool… it has diffrent meanings…. example.. Guy: Do i just got this new Video game … Other Guy: ohh Swagg… (as in thats kool).. Example 2… Guy:Dude look at that guys Swagg… Other Guy: What swagg.. (as in his style the way he carries his self) Also Swagg isnt being rich or watever… Its jsut the way u carry ur self sooo.. acually Swagg is a very Original…. Some ppl Copy other ppls Swagg that is wat u call swagger jackin or watever….. Followers**Wanna Bes** watever…. But Overal uve gotten the Wrong impression from songs…. Swagg can be a simple as Loveing ur gf…. or being good at something in particular… When it comes to Swagg its just giving ppl there propers for something u like about them….Ive said Swagg for a lot of stupid things..but like i said before .. Swagg its just like saying thats kool… and ppl say kool for all sorts of things…..So if u dont like swagg u shouldnt like alot of words


  12. yousouf says:

    thank you ,now i kinda got the meaning of it ,the last paragraph describes it the most , but but sometimes teenagers use it like . am going with my parents.SWAG. what does it refer to in that situation .is it like a motto


  13. ML says:

    Dude, that was great. I had this very debate with someone last night (and made reference to bling bling). Death to swag!


    • Arteest says:

      Yeah man, but it’s crazy cause people ’til this day still say bling. Old people of course…lol But yeah, they should seriously get a new word for pop culture already. sheesh!


  14. I didn’t know that.


  15. Donna R. Sampay says:

    Go to Google and type in the search box-The True Definition of Swagger and Self-Confidence Building. The actual website is Very interesting article. I hated that word to for the same reasons, until I read this. But, I’m sure even this can be wrong.


    • Deacon says:

      Interesting link. I guess it is important in attempting to identify the origins of the word, which appears to be hazy. Still, with most words of pop culture, definitions do change. Right now, it does appear to be that swagger is very relevant to arrogance. That ‘older’ definition you linked seems more like the model of a completely respectable bachelor.


  16. pportugal says:

    Whenever I see you, I’m going to scream “swag” at the top of my lungs


  17. anonymous says:

    I must say I love excision’s swagga.


  18. k80b3th says:

    i never really understood what swag meant. i always just kind of went with it. this was very enlightening and i agree with you. ridiculous.


What Do You Think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s