Culture | Slang
Poverty and misery have always been a subject in rappers’ lyrics. This can be easily understood because Hip-Hop was born in the poor suburbs of New-York. In France, rap is coming from poor neighborhoods too. Today’s word is « hess », and it is used as a way to describe poverty.
“Hess” comes from an Arabian word: “hessd”. It originally means “will to harm”. Because of colonial history, France is today composed of important Algerian and Moroccan communities who have brought a lot of Arabian words in French language.
Eventually, the meaning of the word shifted. Today it has become a common expression in the youth: “C’est la hess”. This sentence has different meaning but generally it means “its misery” or “I don’t have money”. We have to notice that rarely it can also means cocaine. Let’s have a look at some examples to get it.
• « J’serais jamais en hess, même au hebs, j’aurai d’quoi cantiner » [I will never be in misery, even in prison I would have something to eat] (Nekfeu – Saturne)
• « Paris connaît aussi la hess » [Paris also know misery] (MZ (Hache-P) – Les Princes)
• « J’ai envie d’arrêter tout mais la hess m’a traumatisé, les gens qui m’ont suivit, j’peux pas les abandonner » [I want to quit everything but misery traumatize me, people who followed me, I can’t lose them] (PNL – Autre Monde)
• « Les rappeurs français découpés, des kilos de hess’ dans la valise » [French rappers murdered, cocaine kilos in the suitcase] (Booba – Double Poney)You can also find our slang dictionnary here.