Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
If you spent your after-school hours working at an Express mall store in the '90s, then perhaps you are already familiar with the brand's "Express You! Street Verbage Guide," a handy training tool meant to educate employees on all the "street slang" the hardened customers of Express were ostensibly using. For the rest of us, one of these artifacts has happily been unearthed and brought to light over on The Awl, and we hope you are not too busy working or something this afternoon, because it is a gem worthy of some serious internet time.
Apparently Express management felt that in order to effectively communicate with customers, employees—especially the store greeters—would need to "be down with" the latest slang. As part of training, employees were asked to review and memorize the guide, which includes (but is not limited to) the following crucial vocabulary words and accompanying definitions:
Ahite. (adj.): okay, acceptable.
B. (noun): a person.
Bomb. (adj.): great, phat
Crab. (noun.): 1) Somebody you don't like. 2) Disrespect to a Crip.
Dope. (adj.): the best.
Feel me. (fig. spch.): understand, relate.
Hoodrat. (noun): somebody always in the hood.
Jigga (noun): police, the man, 5-0
Keeping it on the L. (v/adj.): keep it to yourself
Narc. (noun): someone who tells on you
Off the hook. (fig. such.): 1) good 2.) bad
Piece. (noun): gun.
Thug. (noun): a gangster
Trick no good. (fig such.): describes someone or something you don't like.
Up in this piece. (noun.): place, where we're at.
Wassup: (fig. spch.): hi, what's up.
Now, we never worked at an Express, but we sure as shit shopped there a lot and we can tell you that not once in all our Express-hopping days did a sales person ever bust out with even a "wassup" or an "ahite," much less a "trick no good" or "up in this piece." So either this glossary was sorely underused by staff, or we were shopping in the wrong mall.
Click on over to The Awl to enjoy the rest of this Express vocabulary lesson, and be sure to "keep it real" while you do.
· Express' Crazy 90s Guide To "Street Slang" [The Awl]
· What Are Our Beloved Beauty Brands of the '90s Up to Now? [Racked]
· Guess What? Clothes From the '90s Are Now Officially Vintage [Racked]