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Posted by Dave
Rap News Network
4/1/2005 7:52:31 PM

Tags and topics realted to this article include E-40.

NCAA basketball players often pluck the front of their jerseys after victories big and small; they should also give a few props to well known rapper E-40.

The shirt-tugging gesture may be going mainstream thanks to March Madness, but hip-hop fans recognize it as a stylistic expression that has permeated the culture for years.

"Nowadays," says E-40, the platinum-selling west coast rap artist who popularized the move, "it means either congratulating yourself or saluting a person and saying, 'I acknowledge you.' But really, poppin' your collar is like when you're standing in the mirror getting dressed and you're fixing your collar. We pull on our sleeves, we jack our slacks and we pop our collar."

"A lot of people's granddaddies did it, but there wasn't a name for it," E-40 told The Associated Press by phone from his home town of Vallejo, 25 miles northeast of San Francisco. "It's embroidered in us here in the Bay Area. We do it automatically and it's not a gimmick. I've been doing it in all my videos since I first began rapping and putting music on the shelves in 1987."

Since then, the slang-tastic rapper born Earl Stevens has had a number of his expressions borrowed by top stars. Snoop Dogg acknowledges him as the source of his "shizzle" speak, while Usher copied the E-40 song title "Pop Ya Collar." (In the 2000 original, E-40 says he's been "poppin' my collar since Moby was a goldfish.")

E-40 is not surprised to see his signature gesture make its way into sports. To him, it's a natural outgrowth of the meshing of sports and hip-hop, two worlds that thrive on braggadocio and self-congratulation.

When the players pop their collars, "it's like a celebration, a victory dance," E-40 says. "They're saying, 'Recognize this, recognize what I just did. I just dunked on the tallest player in this game!"

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