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scrilla (uncountable) (slang, African American Vernacular) money

scrilling: making money.

I'd buy a car, but I don't have any scrilla!

That car is worth mad scrilla.

So what is the origin of scrilla and scrilling? How did they emerge?

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  • I will note that "scritta" is apparently Italian for "written".
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 24, 2020 at 2:15
  • @HotLicks - what has “scritta” to to with scrilla?
    – user 66974
    Apr 23 at 12:56

8 Answers 8

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Scrilla (sometimes skrilla, scrillah or skrillah) dates to at least the mid-1990s, when it was popularised by hip-hop from the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Routledge Dictionary of Modern American Slang and Unconventional English (2008) by Tom Dalzell says:

scrilla; skrilla noun

money US, 1995

  • that scandalous bitch just wanted some scrilla. —rec.music.hip-hop, 8th March 1995

  • If they can get mo scrillah form some stupid ass City to move there, they will. — Renay Jackson, Oaktown Devil, p.11 1998

A search on Rap Stats by Rap Genius suggests a first use (of skrilla) in rap lyrics in 1991, but unfortunately they don't show the actual lyrics to verify.

Vibe magazine (Dec 1997 - Jan 1998) includes "A bona fide playa hips us to Bay Area slang", by Rappin' 4-Tay of San Francisco defines scrilla as money.

The Totally Unofficial Rap-Dictionary, posted to alt.rap on 14th November 1995, defines:

scrilla

(n) Money, loot, scratch. "Scrilla scratch paper" -- E-40 (One love [??]).

E-40 is from Vallejo, a city in the San Francisco Bay Area. The quoted lyrics aren't from "1 Luv" but from "Dey Ain't No" from the same album In a Major Way:

"How much would I make?" I said, "Mega
Just bring me back my scrill scratch paper"

...

On the sc-rilla, always on the go-getter

The top Urban Dictionary definition says it was "coined by E-40" and another definition says:

In the remix of I got five on it E-40 says, "I'm feelin my scrilla but perhaps my scrilla aint feelin me."

"I Got 5 on It" by Luniz (from Oakland in the San Francisco Bay Area) was released on May 31, 1995:

The remix to the song, which can be found on the CD single known as the "Bay Ballas Remix", features an extensive list of artists from the Bay Area including original collaborator Michael Marshall on the chorus, Dru Down, E-40, Richie Rich, Shock G, and Spice 1.

Here's E-40's lyrics from Rap Genius (and you can hear it on YouTube, at about the 2-minute mark):

I'm starting to feel my scrilla
But perhaps today my scrilla ain't feeling me
For the simple fact that I'm off to the track with hella fools, B
Pockets empty, pitching 5, man I'm dusted
Took off my hat, passed it around, man sprinkle me

E-40's "Scrill scratch paper" lyrics inspired the "Scrilla, Scratch, Paper" title of a track on (San Franciscan) JT the Bigga Figga's Dwellin' in tha Labb album, released October 10, 1995.

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4

It's likely that 'scrilla' is a variation of 'scratch' in much the same way that Snoop Dogg (and many others) used '-izzle' to modify words (e.g. 'dizzle' instead of 'deal').
And, while E-40 has been cited as an early user of both the -izzle suffix and the -illa suffix, he's not the first to use either.

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Skrilla appears to be a hip hop variation of the Italian-American slang word “scarola” or “escarole” which is a leafy vegetable, as used in pop television and movie references such as The Sopranos. This, in turn, is a translation from the American slang use of “cabbage” or “lettuce” for money owing to American dollars being printed with green ink on the back side.

1

OED has

scrilla, n. Forms: α. 1900s– scrilla, 1900s– skrilla. β. 1900s– scrill, 1900s– skril, 1900s– skrill.

Etymology: Origin uncertain. Perhaps shortened form of scrillion n., although supporting evidence appears to be lacking.

U.S. slang. Money.

Originally and chiefly in the language of hip-hop.

1994 ‘Master P’ Tryin' to make Dollar out of 15 Cents (transcribed from song) in West Coast Bad Boyz I guess I'm a G about my scrilla.

Given the "origin uncertain" and "perhaps", we'll probably never know the actual answer.

Scrillion (n.)

A. n. A very large (but indefinite) number or quantity (of something). Usually in plural.

1935 Photoplay Sept. 50/1 I..drove out to director W. S. Van Dyke's swimming party for kids... There were scrillions of wee ones there.

1953 Hamilton (Ohio) Daily News Jrnl. 25 June 22/8 I wish I had kept account of how many plants I cut... Scrillions of them.

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Scrilla, Wiktionary suggests a possible origin from scratch and bills, terms used in SanFrancisco Bay Area:

Bay Area slang amongst many other terms for money of variously obscure allusions. Likely a blend, the constituents of which can be seen in the same area’s scratch (“money”) +‎ bills, the -a being from its frequency in other words for money including moola, mazuma, and mozzarella.

GDoS provides a 1993 early usage:

scrilla n. also scrill, skril, skrilla [? Sp.] (US black/teen) money.

1993 Daz Dillinger ‘Initiated’ 🎵 Hold the scrillas, I dump in you niggas’ livers.

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According to this blog entry, the word supposedly comes from "scroll" which was the ancient medium (although clay tablets were also used by some cultures) for record keeping by scribes. Accounting scribes would record the work or barter performed by someone on a scroll, so that any disputes (or owed taxes) could be settled without issue.

Unfortunately, I could not find any reference to when the word "scroll" became "scrill" and then "scrilla" although I saw an entry which said that it sounds "more gangsta to say scrilla."

Hope that helps somewhat.

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0

Scrilla was coined by E-40 a Bay Area rapper in the rap song "Be About Yo Paper"...

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  • When about was that? Currently 1995 is the earliest reference found. Apr 24, 2020 at 11:27
  • 1
    Thanks, David… Can you provide any support for that? Apr 27, 2020 at 21:22
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Sex slaves from Eastern European countries (mainly girls from Russia, Ukraine and a smaller number from the so-called "Balkan" countries) who work on the street and are managed by criminals, a certain number of these women are still trying to find a way out of this type of slavery, whether return home or settle down and become someone's wife. But for such a feat, they need money (false documents, a ticket for a means of transport, etc.). That is why some of them decide to keep part of the money - despite the cruel punishments of their owners, tried to "hide/hide" some money. The term "hide" is a verb that in most Slavic languages ​​denotes the action in the past tense "to hide" (money). In the dark streets where she does such "bidniss" (business), pimps often took money from these unfortunate women for themselves and gambling or gambling debt, with loud questions about where she "hid" the rest of the money. To American citizens who witnessed such scenes and heard questions similar to this in one of the Slavic languages; "Gdje si SKRILA ostatak novca?" (or "para, lova, perje" - other words for money), which means "Where did you hide the rest of the money?" The clearest word would be "skrila", and after that word a certain amount of money would appear, so the term "skrila" thus became a synonym for money.

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