If someone tells you to “drop the mic,” they don’t mean literally. “Drop the
mic” is a figurative expression that emerged from modern American urban slang.
If someone tells you to “drop the mic,” they don’t mean literally. “Drop the mic” is a figurative expression that emerged from modern American urban slang. It’s first origin can be traced back to 1980’s hip hop culture.
Rap battles began between artists as a way of “hyping” or drawing attention to their DJ of choice. In most of these instances, a microphone, or “mic,” was used so that the audience could clearly hear and understand them, as word play and flow was the skill that elevated their status, credibility and popularity.
In one particular 1987 recording, entitled I Ain’t No Joke, by Eric B and Rakim, a lyric states: “I used to let the mic smoke / Now I slam it when I’m done and make sure it’s broke.”
Perhaps the notion of “dropping the mic” originated here, as now countless celebrities have used both this expression and a physical mime, if not a literal dropping of the mic, to signal victory, finality, and triumph. If someone “drops the mic” on you, it is a challenge for you to top what they have done, or do better, if you possibly can. It’s the ultimate sign of confidence in one’s own skills or abilities.
In fact, it’s become so widespread in American culture, that memes, GIFS, and gestures have become extremely common place. You even see it showcased in a Verizon Wireless commercial and using the phrase is now a part of our every day vernacular.
Office worker 1: Did you see Tom debating with Ellen at the office party last night? He really dropped the mic on her…
Office worker 2: Haha, no doubt, but she picked it right back up with her response.
Join Apto to discover more culture, language, and travel content!