I wasn't poor, I was po' - I couldn't afford the 'o-r'
He is saying that he was to poor to afford the letters “o” and “r.” He was so poor that he could not afford something that is free. At the same time he means that he pronounced “poor” “po” which is how many people may say it in the ghetto. In English urban slang or ebonics finds certain words shortened, door becomes do', poor becomes po'. The school system has no money to teach him proper English or the proper way to say the word
“O-R” is also shorthand for an operating room in a hospital. Big L also can’t afford the Operating Room, because in America health care is primarily money-driven.
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