Green's Dictionary of Slang provides two definitions of dolo. It writes "etymology unknown" under the headword.
1. (US black) on one’s own, solo.
This first definition is attested from 1991 to 2011, though its use is known to extend to current day.
2. (US campus) secret.
This second definition seems related at first glance, but the attestation from Campus Slang by Connie Eble suggests that it formed as an abbreviation for "down low."
do lo – secret. From down low.
It is here that I am uncertain. My assumption has always been that dolo was rhyming slang for solo, but the final attestation provided under the first definition above, from 2011, is phrased in a way that parallels the expression "on the down low".
Solo, creepin on the dolo, tippin like a low-low.
- 2011 - Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa ‘World Class’ [lyrics]
That GDoS marks the etymology as unknown without any speculation along the lines of 'possibly rhyming slang for solo' or 'possibly an abbreviation of "down low"' surprises me. They both seem like logical explanations.
The rest of my question is essentially whether either of these explanations can be backed up by evidence, or if there are other possibilities.
- Are these two senses outlined by GDoS related or formed separately?
- Is there any evidence that "dolo" started as either rhyming slang or abbreviation, or separately as both?
- For instance, can early uses be traced to an idiomatic structure that fits with "down low" the same way the 2011 citation does?
- Is there any other possible explanation?
I had a very hard time coming up with a title to this question. If anyone has suggestions for improvement I'm open to it.