drop science (1987)

Orin Hargraves orinkh at CARR.ORG
Thu Apr 14 21:05:05 UTC 2005

I wonder: is this perhaps a more general slang usage that has other
complements? There's "drop knowledge" for example, which appears here,


There are also a respectable number of hits of "drop knowledge" in a hip-hop
context on rec.music.hip-hop (via Google Groups) where it appears to have a
similar meaning -- though none I saw as old as 1987.

Orin Hargraves

>>From the OED's Sep. 2004 draft additions for "drop":
>drop, v.
>trans. slang (orig. U.S.).
>a. To sing or perform (rap lyrics or rap music).
>b. to drop science: to impart knowledge or wisdom, freq. about social
>issues, esp. through the medium of rap or hip-hop music.
>Recorded in 1989 on the television programme CBS This Morning in J. E.
>Lighter's Hist. Dict. Amer. Slang (1994) I. 660/2: 'Droppin' science is
>when she's really explainin' what's goin' on.
>1990 'PARIS' Break Grip of Shame (song) in L. A. Stanley Rap: the Lyrics
>(1992) 245 Paris is my name, I don't sleep I drop science and keep the
>There are numerous rap songs from the late '80s that use the expression
>"drop science".  Here's the earliest usage that I know of:
>Eric B. & Rakim, "My Melody" on _Paid in Full_ (1987)
>I drop science like a scientist, My melody's in a code.
>Just turn it on and start rockin, mind no introduction
>Til I finish droppin science, no interruption.
>The following year, Marley Marl (w/ Craig G) had a song called "Droppin'
>Science" on the album _In Control, Vol. I_.  By 1989, the expression was
>common enough to appear on albums by Big Daddy Kane, NWA, the Beastie
>Boys, Boogie Down Productions, and others.
>The expression apparently originated among members of the Five Percent
>offshoot of the Nation of Islam.  For an explanation of the Five Percenter
>understanding of "science" (ultimately derived from the Moorish Science
>Temple), see "Islam in the Mix: Lessons of the Five Percent" by Ted
>Swedenburg: <http://comp.uark.edu/~tsweden/5per.html>.
>--Ben Zimmer

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