Rhyme Spotters: Twinkies

By:

Today’s classic rap phrase comes, not surprisingly, from the heart of the Bay Area of Oakland, California: twinkies. While the name itself brings up memories of the now-bankrupt dessert cakes, the real twinkies are an entirely different beast. — Gavin Matthews

A “twinkie” refers to a set of wheels breaking the 20" mark, dominating the roads and outshining the late 90s 18"+ craze. A twinkie usually requires a new wheel kit, replacing stock wheels, and is a fixture of the Atlanta, Houston, and Oakland scenes. The word is easy to figure out — rims “twinkle” — but how did it come to be a fixture of rap?

Thankfully, the father of all slang, E-40, was quick to adopt the new term and roll it into his lingo. On the classic Ghetto Celebrity, off of 1999s Charlie Hustle: Blueprint of a Self Made Millionaire, Earl first notes his knowledge of Bay Area slang:

‘Bout them dollars/
Sittin’ on twinkies

The south was quick to follow; within three years, efforts by Missy Elliott (“Slide”), Shyne, (“Spend Some Cheese”), and Jay-Z (“Poppin' Tags“) featured the term right next to well-established slang. With three legends and rising stars pitting a new term beside classic lines and vibes, the trend was sure to grow. As time passed, the word passed from west to east, gracing the vernacular of Houston’s greats, such as Paul Wall and the S.U.C and through to Georgia, the heart of the Dirty South.

As expected, the same phrase was later adopted by Trick Daddy (“Dro in the Wind”), Chamillionaire, Lil Wayne (“Jump Jiggy”), and most famously, the Clipse. The Clipse in particular rewrote the term, changing the the use in the classic “Hello New World” to “Twinkie train,” a hood-wide line of pimped out cars all driving toward success. Making it to the primetime, “twinkie” grew beyond its original meaning and was certified a star of slang.

So next time you see a Chevy drive by with massive 22"s and candy paint, give them a wave: you’re watching a part of hip-hop culture live on.