The expression "thugged out" always seemed inadequate to describe the styles coming out of poor, black neighborhoods, where so many kids dress or look hard as a matter of survival. Used by sometime Minneapolis rapper Yukmouth for a 1998 track title, the phrase seeped into the modern vernacular as shorthand for all things African American and scary. Really, it's a racially coded variation on the put-down "country," and you can sense it behind the ironically thrown gang sign, the doo rag as Halloween costume, and the way most white fans of crunk and 50 Cent never set foot in a party that's "straight hood," whether or not... More >>>