Get Hyphy

hy∙phy [HY-fee]


1 : dangerous and irrational: CRAZY;

2 : amusingly eccentric; without inhibition: GOOFY


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The hyphy movement was born out of Oakland, California. The word “hyphy” was said to have been coined by Bay area rapper Keak da Sneak – the first known use of the word was on Keak da Sneak’s 1999 LP Sneakacydal.

In short, hyphy is a combination of “hyper” and “fly.” It is often used to describe the Bay area hip hop movement that emerged out of the late 1990s which is both a style of music and a form of dance. Hyphy music is distinguished by its gritty, thumping snares, and rugged production (source). Hyphy dancing or turf dancing is when an individual is said to “get hyphy” by dancing or acting in an overstated and ridiculous manner, or if they get overly loud with people (source).

Ghost-ride+the+whip_b17dac_3263032The hyphy culture is also associated with “illegal” automobile events called sideshows. This was my first introduction to getting hyphy. Someone sent me a YouTube video of people ghostriding the whip (I drove old Volvos all my life so this killed me) and I saw another video about Oaklanders installing whistle tips. People come together to “go dumb” at these sideshows and watch or participate in illegal streetracing and stunts.

Getting hyphy is sometimes associated with alcohol and drug use (the common hyphy term “thizz” refers to taking MDMA) but not exclusively. The hyphy movement as a whole describes an overstated, fast paced, party lifestyle.

What does cannabis have to do with getting hyphy? 

It is hard to ignore the influence that the cannabis culture has had in the Bay area, especially in Oakland. The hyphy movement has grown up alongside the medical marijuana community that was born out of Oaksterdam. Proposition 215  was passed in 1996 and the first dispensary in Oaksterdam opened that same year. But as many of us already know, farmers in Northern California had been cultivating and experimenting with their marijuana crops for decades earlier. The cannabis culture in turn has thrived in California – helped by the agreeable climate, knowledgeable growers and the voters support.

The recreational use of marijuana is also becoming more widespread in this part of the country thanks to the more relaxed marijuana laws. It’s hard to walk around my neighborhood without the sweet smell of sensimilla filling your nostrils.  In truth, marijuana use is so common in Oakland that it’s as normal as watching someone light up a cigarette or drink a glass of wine. If I want to get goofy or get hyphy, you can guarantee that some herb will be involved. And if I want to get dumb, I gobble up one of my homemade edibles!

What is a hyphy wifey?

According to Urban Dictionary, a hyphy wifey is a hyped ass wife that you hella love. But to me, it means so much more! I really identified with the term because I am naturally hyper and overly loud. I love to be silly and goofy and using cannabis helps to allieve my pain and bring out that side of me again. The hyphy movement has grown to be so much more than people dancing in the streets…it’s a sense of pride you get from living in Oakland!








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