If you’re even remotely tapped into the hip hop world right now you’re no doubt familiar with the Drake and Kendrick Lamar rap feud which raged on throughout April and May 2024. This beef has inspired a number of jaw-dropping tracks, each containing their own series of slang terms and personal attacks which many casual listeners might have trouble understanding. One such slang term which has come up a lot during this beef is the word ‘crodie.’ Kendrick used this strange word multiple times in his chart-topping diss record “Euphoria.” In the final moments of the song, the “Humble” vocalist raps “Don’t speak on the family, crodie. It can get deep in the family, crodie. Talk about me and my family, crodie? Someone gon’ bleed in your family, crodie.”

Given that the word was used multiple times, fans quickly surmised that this term had some kind of deeper meaning, in addition to its on-the-street use, which many Americans needed to look up on outlets such as Genius. So without any further preamble, let’s dive into the etymology and history of “crodie.” We’ll walk through exactly what this term means, where it came from, and how it was employed to attack Drake.

The Term Has Origins In Toronto, Canada

The simplest explanation for Kendrick’s repeated use of the word crodie is that the term originated in Toronto, the very same Canadian city where Drake grew up. The term is an offshoot of “brodie,” which is itself an offshoot of “bro.” In the most basic of terms, crodie is a newfangled slang term often used to address a friend or associate in the second person. The same way an American in New York City might say “hey bro, do you know what time it is?” a Canadian in Toronto might ask “Hey crodie, are you feeling Chinese food tonight?” So why swap the B in brodie for a C? Well, that’s a whole other layer to peel back.

Street gangs such as the Crips or Bloods often utilize deeply coded language to signal their allegiances to one another, or obfuscate the meaning of their slang from any monitoring authority figures. This is sometimes referred to as avoidance speech or anti-language by etymologists. Common terms utilized in avoidance speech are ever-changing, as the individuals that employ these speech tactics are constantly in a game of cat and mouse with those they consider outsiders. For Crips and Bloods, this means shielding language from civilians and law enforcement, by frequently supplanting Bs for Cs or vice versa.

For an excellent example of this anti-language in action, look to any interview with the viral 55th Street rapper Crip Mac, as he utilizes these guidelines quite frequently. Crip Mac frequently uses words like “custer,” a Crip-ified version of buster, and “cuh,” a Crip-ified version of bruh, for further example.

How Does Crodie Relate To Drake Specifically?

Long before Drake and Kendrick locked horns in a brutal diss war, crodie was popularized in music by the Toronto rapper Pressa. According to XXL magazine, Drake and Pressa first linked to go on tour together back in 2017, and Drake has been shouting the rising star out ever since. Pressa allegedly has ties to real Crips in Canada, and was even touring with Drake while out on bail, facing charges of kidnapping, pistol whipping, torture, and engaging in a gun fight. While Drake has never claimed to be a Crip personally, he has adopted crodie into his vernacular, uttering the phrase in multiple songs including “War,” “Calling For You,” and “Circo Loco.”

It should be noted that Kendrick was mimicking a thick Toronto accent while delivering the lines where he repeatedly said crodie, as a means to make fun of Drake. Many fans have interpreted the delivery of these lyrics as a reclamation of gang culture, with Kendrick subtly implying that Drake is a fake-gangster, impersonating Crip vernacular to look tough to his fans on the internet. While Kendrick Lamar claims to have no personal affiliation with the Crips or Bloods, he has famously explained through interviews and lyrics in his music that he grew up surrounded by gang violence in his home town of Compton, California, which is a major hub for both gangs.

Drake Has An Even Deeper Relationship With Crodie

While most fans were content with the explanation that crodie is simply a gang term, trivialized by Kendrick to critique Drake for claiming a fabricated identity, others dug even deeper. As “Euphoria” continued to run up the charts, fans across social media began making the additional connection that Crodie is also the name of Drake’s cat. Drake revealed the name to his fans during a live stream, pronouncing the cat’s name with a thick Toronto accent, which is uncharacteristic of Drake’s usual speaking voice.

It seems that Kendrick Lamar has truly done his homework in order to roast Drake from all angles. While a few of Drake’s core fans may have been aware of these details beforehand, this information, and the word crodie itself, are now a part of pop culture that spreads far and wide beyond rap. For better or worse, we’ll probably all be hearing the word crodie for years to come. At least now we all understand why the slang term is being said.