Pop Some Tags

I learned something new today. From Macklemore. And my teenage son.

We were in the car. Macklemore’s Thrift Shop was playing. (Warning! Bad language!) Before it gets to the profanity and obscenity, just before, there’s a catchy beat and lyrics I could make out: “I’m gonna pop some tags.” Hmmm…I wondered out loud…what does that mean?

There must have been eye rolling.

My son knew. “Pop some tags,” he explained, “means to steal. He’s in the thrift shop.”

“Oh, I get it. The tags are the tags on the clothes. [And I’m thinking: what is that part of speech that means using the part to represent the whole? That Macklemore is very literary.] And pop means to steal?”

“He’s switching the tags on the clothes to have a lower priced tag on the thing he wants.”

Urban dictionary confirms that definition. However, further exploration reveals a darker definition, too. I’m wanting to like this Macklemore, but I just don’t know.

I also learned come-up, which means bargain. That seems like a more useful term in my life than pop some tags. But that means I was not correctly hearing my favorite line of the song, which I perceived as “one man’s trash is another man’s cummerbund.” That Macklemore, quite the poet.

3 Comment

  1. Nunchucks says: Reply

    This is an old blog I see but just to inform you pooping tags does not mean stealing. Or price swapping for that matter. It usually means spending excessive amounts of money on clothes (enough to where you never wear the same shirt twice) hence *popping* a lot of tags off of clothes. The song is about how he goes to a thrift shop and gets an excessive amount of clothes for cheap so he is still *popping* a lot of tags and still is able to look like he is on the “come-up” because he too won’t have to wear the same shirt twice. It’s a song about perception and how he achieves a certain perception of financial success.

    1. laurakornish says: Reply

      Dear Nunchucks,
      Thank you! Sounds like I was led astray by the venerable Urban Dictionary.

  2. The Uban Dictionary Link you posted you choose the second definition over the first, it says:

    1) When a cool dude goes shopping, the removal of the tags is a remarkable event. The whole shopping experience can be summarized by this defining moment. Literally, poppin’ tags is removing tags typically after purchasing, but in a broader sense this phrase encompasses “going shopping.”

    2) Swapping price tags for lesser value – note there is significantly less poppin’ sound since someone is doing an illegal activity that is equivalent to shoplifting.

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