By the way, what is the "moula"?

By the way, what is the “moula”?

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“I have to make biff, mula, caramel”, “The big moula tah Bogota”, “I am a moula, you are a moula”… You don’t understand anything about it? Rest assured, you are not alone. If you rub shoulders with the younger generations, you have inevitably been confronted with the “moula”. This term has flourished for several years in the songs of French rappers, who have made it an emblematic expression. Since then, the moula is everywhere. To the point of becoming a word like any other for a whole section of the population.

If the moula is spreading at high speed, it is still difficult to define, even for those who use it full time. For some, the term means “money”, for others, “shit” or “weed”, or even a kind of reprimand: “I put the big moula on you!”.

The moula has, so to speak, no real fixed meaning and can qualify almost anything and everything, for those who know how to do it. Not easy to navigate, especially when the variants are mixed up, such as moulaga, moulax and moula gang. The opportunity for us to establish a small survival guide to know everything about the moula and understand how to use this word wisely in society.

From the mule to the moula

If we use it without counting today, the moula does not date from yesterday. Its origin would even date back nearly a century! The etymology of the term is not entirely certain, but the word would probably have been used for the first time in the late 1930s in the United States in the form “moolaah“, a term of slang then used in the street to designate the biff, the money, the cash. In short, the money.

By pulling the thread a little, it would seem that the notion of money attached to this American term actually refers to another word, Spanish this time: “from”, that is to say “the mule”, the female of the mule, that which transports the richnesses. The phrase “get off the mule“, literally “to get off the mule”, means, for example, “to pay”, reports Le Rap in France. Everything is there to make moolah a portmanteau on the street and on the US rap scene.

And it did not fail. After a brief appearance in a title by Chuck Brown in 1984, the word entered the gangsta rap vocabulary of the 1990s. Rapper G-Len, but also the famous Notorious BIG and Tracey Lee did not hesitate to use, in their tracks, the term in its monetary sense. If the expression continues its little way across the Atlantic, it has above all crossed the waves to settle in France at the end of the century. With the success that we now know him.

When Booba imposes the moula
in France

Who is the precursor of the French moula? You have to go back to the classics of French rap to find the answer. The first to use this funny word is none other than Akhenaton, figure of the Marseille group IAM. “I’m into the khouya dance, only for the moula-ia”he sang in 1995 in his title “J’ai pas de face”, from the reissue of the album Meteca and Mate. The Marseillais certainly did not know it, but he had just opened the Pandora’s box of the moula.

The expression did not, however, enjoy great success in its early days. Akhenaten may throw a “for a handful of mula” (“a fistful of money”) in “Sad Hill”, another song from the end of the last millennium, nothing helps: the moula does not take. France was not ready? Surely. At least, until Booba unbridled her, not without charm (“My career is amazing, if I go to hell I pay for the trip.”).

It is indeed this famous rapper who brought the moula into force in France, almost fifteen years after his timid arrival. “I have to make biff, mula, caramel”, (in other words, to make money) sings the native of Boulogne-Billancourt. That’s it, the moula is there, and will stay there.

Booba, however, confuses the tracks. Whether with this mythical punchline, from his title “Caramel” in 2012, or in his many other sounds, the one who is also called B2O begins to use several of the various meanings of the word “moula”, even if it means getting lost .

To talk about money, of course, (even if he says: “My favorite question: what am I going to do with all this sorrel”, and no “What am I going to do with all this moula”). But also as a synonym for “cannabis” or “shit”, which is sold to make “moula” again (this time, understand “money”) or that we consume. You follow? Hang on, the semantic labyrinth of the moula is still in its infancy.

The story of an insane success

As all rappers envy the DUC, (“The rappers envy me, are all in trouble. One day of my salary is their life insurance.), the term “moula” was not long in being taken up everywhere on the French rap scene, adopting in passing the spelling made in France “moula”, which definitively replaced “from».

What follows is a demented success story. The word is everywhere. At MHD (“You smoked the moula, you coughed!”), with Gradur and Hamza using the term, but also with Siboy (“We have to fe-ta fe-ta for this mula mula”), chez Soprano («The glory, the moula is now”), at Jul, at Damso (“Down here, I only do moula-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la”), at Niska, at Ninho, at PNL (“Two-three million, this moula just to leave the Earth”), at Guizmo (“I have the moula that makes you stupid”), without forgetting, of course, at Gradur and Heuss l’enfoiré. Their famous “Yes, we are the big moulas” moreover undoubtedly participates in blurring the meaning of the word a little more.

The atypical sound of the word is its strength. It makes an impression, in addition to being flexible and practical for linking rhymes. The moula becomes the playground of whoever uses it, adapting its meaning to the context. Even if it means gradually losing its primary meaning of “money”. Whatever.

The moulaga takes over, the moulax arrives, closely followed by the moula gang, a real state of mind. From now on, we make moula, we are moulas, we earn moula and we can even put the moula to someone. One moula lost, ten found.

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