“Going Dumb” Hyphy Dancing

My informant is from the San Francisco bay area and part of a “hyphy gang” called “Yah Clique”. Hyphy is a movement started by the bay area, Oakland based rapper, Mac Dre. In his songs, he originated the word “hyphy” which stands for “the way of life for bay area rappers, specifically partying sensibilities”. Mac Dre’s death in 2004 was the catalyst to the exponential growth of hyphy in the mid 2000s. More and more rap artists emerged emulating his music styles, rhythms, and expanding on the ‘hyphy’ vocabulary.

My informant was in high school during this time and was greatly influenced by the rap music and the terms it created. One such term widely used was called “Going Dumb.”

“Going Dumb” means:

Acting/ Dancing in a way that is completely freeing; allowing your body to do what it is meant to do at that moment in time. Moving to the music with no inhibition. The use of “Dumb” represents the fact that you do not care how ridiculous, or crazy you appear.

“Dumb” is often a negative term, relating to a person’s lack of intelligence, or mental capacity. Looking “dumb” refers to someone who appears to be  unaware of what is socially acceptable to the point of criticism. So in the case of “hyphy,” going dumb takes the position that how one is moving may not be socially acceptable, but the fact one does not care what others think makes it “cool” or positive.