What are Opps in Rap Songs? A Deep Dive into the Slang and Culture

Rap music, with its rich history and powerful lyrics, often uses a language of its own. It’s a genre that has given birth to various slang terms and phrases that carry specific meanings. Among these, “opps” is a term that frequently surfaces in rap songs, but its significance might not be immediately apparent to those not deeply entrenched in the culture. In this article, we will explore What are Opps in Rap Songs?  what “opps” means in the context of rap songs, its origin, and its impact on the genre.

What are Opps in Rap Songs

The Power of Slang in Rap

Rap music is renowned for its poetic storytelling, wordplay, and the clever use of language. Slang terms and jargon are an integral part of this culture, often serving as a way for artists to communicate complex ideas, experiences, and emotions. One such term, “opps,” has become a staple in rap lyrics and reflects the genre’s ability to evolve and adapt.

What are Opps in Rap Songs? Defining “Opps” in Rap

In rap songs, “opps” is a slang term that abbreviates “opposition.” This term is frequently used to describe individuals, groups, or rival factions considered as enemies or opponents. The context in which “opps” is used can vary widely, but its core meaning remains consistent: it refers to those who are in opposition, often as adversaries in conflicts or rivalries.

The Roots of “Opps” in Rap

To understand the origin of the term “opps” in rap, we must delve into the genre’s history. While it’s challenging to pinpoint the exact moment when “opps” was first introduced, it has been in circulation since at least the 1980s. One of the early documented usages of the term appeared in LL Cool J’s 1985 track “Rock the Bells.” This suggests that the term was already in use in the rap community during that time. It’s essential to note that LL Cool J wasn’t introducing or coining the term; he was simply reflecting the language of the rap culture.

The term “opps” likely has roots in both rap and street culture, particularly within Black communities in the United States. The term’s brevity and ease of use in rhymes made it a natural fit for rap lyrics. While it may have originated in one or the other, it became a versatile term that crossed over between these worlds.

The Evolution of “Opps” in Rap

Over the years, the use of “opps” in rap has evolved and expanded. Until around 2015, the term appeared only sparingly in rap songs. However, its usage surged, particularly due to the influence of Chicago drill music. Between 2012 and 2014, it was predominantly employed within the Chicago rap scene. As this subgenre gained prominence, “opps” began to appear more widely in rap music across the nation.

“Opps” in Rap Rivalries

One of the primary contexts in which “opps” is used in rap songs is to describe feuds or rivalries between artists. These conflicts, often referred to as “beefs,” involve public disagreements or animosities between rappers. A beef can be sparked by a variety of reasons, including personal disputes, competition, or disagreements over artistic and cultural matters.

In these instances, the rappers involved in the feud become each other’s “opps.” The term “opps” is then employed to reference the rival rapper or their associates, signifying the ongoing conflict. These rap rivalries can manifest as public diss tracks, insults, or social media exchanges. While some beefs may be little more than marketing tactics, others can be genuine and deeply personal.

“Opps” in Gang Culture

Apart from rap rivalries, “opps” also finds a significant place in gang culture within the rap community. This usage is sometimes linked to real-world conflicts, particularly in neighborhoods where gang activity is prevalent.

Rival gang members are often referred to as “opps.” This term is not limited to personal disputes or disagreements but encompasses a more significant and potentially life-threatening rivalry between opposing gang factions. For example, in the case of the Bloods and the Crips, two notorious gangs, members of each group would consider one another as “opps” due to their long-standing and deadly rivalry.

The Varied Usage of “Opps” in Rap

The term “opps” is incredibly versatile in the rap culture. Depending on the context, it can represent a wide spectrum of relationships, from playful banter to deep-seated animosity. Rappers use it to denote their opposition, whether within their own artistic sphere or the larger context of gang rivalries. This flexibility allows artists to express their experiences, emotions, and stories in their lyrics.

“Opps” Beyond the United States

The influence of rap music is not confined to the United States, and the use of “opps” has extended into international rap scenes. In the United Kingdom, for example, “opps” is employed similarly to its American counterpart. British rap artists use the term to describe their adversaries or rivals, whether in rap or gang-related contexts. The term has been adopted from American rap and is now a part of British rap culture, reflecting the global reach and influence of the genre.


In the rich and ever-evolving world of rap music, slang terms like “opps” are essential tools for artists to convey their stories, experiences, and emotions. While “opps” may have originated as a term for adversaries or opposition, its meaning has expanded to encompass a wide range of rivalries, from rap beefs to gang conflicts. This evolution highlights the adaptability and impact of rap culture, demonstrating how language and terminology continually shape the genre’s narrative.

Understanding the meaning and usage of “opps” in rap songs provides a deeper appreciation of the artistry and culture of this influential musical genre. As rap continues to evolve, so too will the language and slang that define it, making it an ever-fascinating and dynamic aspect of contemporary music and cultural expression.

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