Homie (more frequently, homey), is a contraction of the American slang word "homeboy" which became prevalent among some of the youth in the African American communities starting in the late 1960's and continuing up to the present, particularly in the hip hop subculture.

Another common contraction of the word homeboy is homes (sometimes "holmes").

An interesting historic musical footnote is the use of the word "homie" by Ella Mae Morse in the original hit version of the classic song "House of Blue Lights" in 1946. At the beginning of the song she says, "what's that homie?" to Freddie (Freddie Slack, the writer of the song). Ella Mae Morse was white.

In the hip hop subculture the homeboy image is huge for artists and audiences. They always need to appear "hip" and "fresh" with their attitudes, clothing, and jewelry. The inspiration for this homeboy image can be easily traced to Malcolm X, who also rebelled against a tradition perceived as ineffectual. It has been argued that hip-hop has redefined the homeboy by providing him with functions that contradict society's view of him. Manthia Diawara, author of "Homeboy Cosmopolitan", writes, "Hip-hop culture gives aesthetic pleasure through ironic and parodic play with mainstream images of black people". Diawara argues that hip-hop permits the creation of a new image of black cultures, because it sharply turns against preconceived notions of African-American society and allows for the creation of a new image of black Americans. This image of staying hip is always evolving with new dress styles and sayings. The referenced website gives ten ways to stay hip every week, they change drastically week to week.

In 1992 a Latino rap hip hop group released "Homies" on their "Hip Hop Locos" album. The music lyrics best describe what a "Homie" is in the Latino community. The "hip and fresh" image is less important than the relationship between each other or groups of friends. The status of "Homie" is considered as "My best friend." or "Someone I can trust.". As in, "This is my Homie Dark Alex, we've known each other since grade school." Or, "I won't be around this afternoon. But, you can give the money to my Homie James. He'll give it to me later when I see him."


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