throwing it down

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Thu Apr 7 19:28:59 UTC 2005

On Thu, 7 Apr 2005 15:10:13 -0400, Benjamin Zimmer
<bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU> wrote:

>Plain "throw down" has early roots in rap -- the full version of the
>Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" (1979) uses the phrase three times:
>Now I got a man comin' on right now
>He's guaranteed to throw down
>He goes by the name of Wonder Mike
>Come on, Wonder Mike, do what you like!
>Well like the Barkays singin' "Holy Ghost"
>The sounds to throw down, they're played the most.
>Like movin' your body so you don't know how
>Right to the rhythm and throw down.

An early example of nominalized "throwdown" is the 1980 12-inch by Afrika
Bambaata and the Cosmic Force: "Zulu Nation Throwdown Part 1".

In hiphop usage "throw down"/"throwdown" refers to battling an opponent,
either lyrically in a freestyle competition or using physical force.

--Ben Zimmer

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