Especially in rap circles but also increasingly in YouTube videos “thug life” is becoming a common expression. However, the meaning of this expression is not known to everybody. We'll tell you what's behind it.
Definition of Thug Life: What is a Thug?
A Thug is defined as a violent, lawless or criminal person. In a historical context a thug was part of a religious robbery organization in India. This organization was suppressed by the British back in 1830.
Nowadays, the term is often translated as “gangster life” or “criminal life”, since “thug” is a term that means “gangster” or refers to somebody who beats up people.
This is why the term is so popular among rappers: in this context “thug life” usually refers to a hard life between drugs, violence and prison.
The Acronym Thug Life and its meaning: Tupac's definition
Thug Life was a hip-hop music group founded by rap legend Tupac Shakur.
Tupac explains that the Acronym Thug Life “The Hate U Give Little Infants Fucks Everybody” means that society harms itself and everyone if it does not love its youngest members.
This statement has provoked a multitude of moral panic and Tupac was heavily criticized for glorifying violence and the image of being a "thug". However, his message was meant as a warning to the society to bring up children in a positive environment without racism, violence and oppression to break the cycle.
Tupac Shakur and his Thug Life Tattoo
Ever since Tupac Shakur died, shirtless photos of him onstage have become iconic because of his tattoos. One of the most copied ones is the "Thug Life" tattoo on his torso.
It is also one of the most famous tattoos in music and hip-hop history and has been an influence to many other musicians, like the singer Rihanna, who has a "Thug Life" tattoo on her fingers. Tupac's definition of the "Thug Life" acronym as an appeal against oppression has continued to influence the hip-hop and pop culture until today.
Thug life Memes: Funny Videos, GIFs & Quotes you need to know!
You can find many funny videos, GIFs & quotes referring to the "Thug Life" acronym online. The trend started in 2014, with different videos showing children, animals or people doing something unexpected or extraordinary. The person or animal in these videos is often shown in slow-motion with Thug Life Glasses photoshopped into the video and a song by artists like Tupac or another "Thug Life" artist playing in the video. Of course, these memes do not depict the original thug life philosophy, but show that thug life is claimed to be a positive achievement, rather than a negative one.
Thug life songs
What makes these videos so special however, is the choice of Gangsta Rap songs, which are added to the video at the right moment, making the person or animal in the video a "thug". Here are our favorites:
- Dr.Dre ft. Snoop Dog – "Still D.R.E“
- Dr.Dre – "Fuck you“
- Ludacris – "Move Bitch Get Out Da Way“
- Chamillionaire ft. Krayzie – "Ridin'“
Here you can find a bigger selection of Thug Life songs:
Thug life cats
By the way: Animals can also lead such a “thug life”. Animal thug life compilations have become a real internet phenomenon on YouTube. Cats are very popular.
Thug Life Gif, PNG & Quotes
In 2015 a thug life meme appeared and started a series of pictures showing privileged white teenagers, captioned with a quote by Tupac: "I didn’t choose the thug life, the thug life chose me." The meme ridicules the fact that these privileged teenagers haven't lived a thug life, and only want to appear cool by pretending to have the same struggles as black people.