„Ride or die“ is a popular phrase in urban subcultures, especially in the rap and hip-hop scene. It serves as an expression of unconditional loyalty, attachment and reliability towards another person. The expression, which was originally more at home in African-American culture, has made its way into the spoken everyday language of young people in recent years. It is used by them on social media and in gaming, for example.
In essence, „ride or die“ means that someone stays with a person unconditionally and, if necessary, to the tragic end. This can extend to support in any situation, such as criminal endeavors, but also purely everyday things. „Ride or die“ is used in friendships, as well as in romantic relationships, and in some places in business partnerships. Since there is still a lack of knowledge about this expression in many places, it will be explained in detail in the following article.
Definition of „ride or die“
The expression „ride or die“ comes from the English language and is composed of the verb „to ride“, the conjunction „or“ and the verb „to die“. Combined, „ride or die“ can therefore be translated roughly as „be a fellow rider or die“.
What is meant by this is that someone must have his unconditional loyalty. Otherwise this can remain stolen (which is expressed drastically with the fact that this could die otherwise also). „Ride or die“ is thus a typical scene expression used in situations when the other person is supposed to prove his loyalty, friendship and reliability.
The expression integrates a condition that has to be fulfilled without any ifs and buts and thus only asks for confirmation again briefly. It could therefore also read, „Are you in?“ – „Sure, ride or die!“. In English usage, the expression „for better or for worse“ has become more established here. Basically, the expression „ride or die“ describes a deep trust and emotional connection to another person.
Origin and word origin of „ride or die“
Originally, „ride or die“ comes from the African-American community, where it originated in the 1990s. Around that time, it made its way to the rap and hip-hop scene. Gradually, „ride or die“ developed organically in the urban environment. From then on, the phrase was a popular element in many song lyrics. In the years after 2010, the transfer to youth subcultures, such as the gaming scene, also took place. From there, „ride or die“ also became increasingly established in the spoken everyday language of teenagers and young adults. Equally popular, however, is the expression now used in pop culture.
Use of the expression „ride or die“
The expression „ride or die“ is used today in a wide variety of contexts. However, it has become particularly established in the social media environment, in the gaming scene and in spoken everyday language. The individual areas of application of the phrase „ride or die“ will be shown more comprehensively in the subsections below.
In social networks, the use of „ride or die“ in comments, postings or in connection with hashtags has expanded considerably. The phrase is particularly popular on the platforms Instagram, Twitter, as well as TikTok. Social network users often use „ride or die“ here in connection with friends, partners or family members, to whom it expresses eternal loyalty and attachment. Furthermore, „ride or die“ is also very popular in connection with memes or viral images as well as videos.
In the gaming scene, „ride or die“ is often used in multiplayer online games. The use of the expression in combination with shooter games, in which cooperative adventures have to be passed, is particularly well established. Ride or die“ is used here to describe the special relationship between individual players. The phrase is used primarily in chat messages, voice chats or within the gaming community, such as on gaming forums. Here, too, „ride or die“ refers to the unconditional loyalty and attachment of a player to another player.
Ride or die“ has also become established in everyday language. The expression is mainly used in situations where support or loyalty is to be confirmed to friends, the partner or family members. At the same time, the saying here is considered proof of trust, or rather, it serves to build trust. In romantic relationships, „ride or die“ is more of an unconventional way to show your partner your willingness to go through the ups and downs of the relationship together.
Social classification of the expression „ride or die“
The phrase „ride or die“ is used primarily by members of the „Millenials,“ „Y,“ and „Alpha“ generations. Accordingly, the main group of people using this expression is under the age of 30. However, older generations also understand this expression in places (as its origins date back to the early 1990s).
Criticisms of „ride or die“
Although „ride or die“ is a comparatively innocuous expression of loyalty, the phrase is criticized by many. The unconditional loyalty is criticized in terms of a restriction of individuality and self-determination. Further, the expression is criticized for being associated with the negative aspects of violence and crime. The overemphasis on unconditional support can also lead to a one-sided dynamic – one in which one’s own thinking is eliminated. Many also criticize „ride or die“ to the effect that this is yet another typically urban trendy term.
Conclusion on the subject of „ride or die“
So, to summarize, „ride or die“ is an urban phrase that refers to the unconditional loyalty and support of one person or group to another. „Ride or die“ originated in the music environment, but then gradually spread to social media, gaming, and to spoken everyday language.
Related to the phrase „ride or die“ are, for example, the idioms „bros before hoes“ or „ride togehter, die together.“ While „bros before hoes“ primarily indicates that (male) friendships take precedence over relationships, „ride togehter, die together“ is basically just an alternative variant of „ride or die“ and means the same thing.