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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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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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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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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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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.

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