Symbol in Hip Hop: Why Do Rappers Hold Up 4 Fingers?

Symbol in Hip Hop: Why Do Rappers Hold Up 4 Fingers?

For those not familiar with hip hop culture, it may come as something of a surprise to see rappers flashing four fingers in the air while they rap. But what does it mean Is there a specific reason why this particular gesture has become so popular among hip hop artists It turns out that there is. In this blog post, we’ll explore the significance of the four-finger Westside symbol in hip hop and some other common symbols used by rappers.  

Why Do Rappers Hold Up 4 Fingers?

The Origins of the 4-Finger W Gesture

The West Side sign originates from Los Angeles, California. The gesture was first used by gang members in L.A., and eventually spread to other areas as well. It was primarily used as a sign of recognition amongst gang members, but over time it became more widespread. Nowadays, it’s even seen in different parts of the world outside of the United States.  

So what does this gesture mean? Well, when you break it down, holding up four fingers can be seen as an alternative way of making a “W” shape with your hands – hence why it has become synonymous with the “West Side.” Additionally, some people believe that the four fingers represent each letter in the word “west” – W-E-S-T. As far as rap music goes, this sign is often used to represent solidarity and unity amongst artists who are proudly repping their hometowns or neighborhoods.   

Nowadays, it seems like almost every rapper has thrown up the four fingers at least once in their career – whether it be on stage or during a photo shoot. From Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube to Kendrick Lamar and Travis Scott, many prominent hip hop artists have been known to use this symbol on numerous occasions throughout their careers. Furthermore, due to its growing popularity in rap culture (and beyond), many clothing brands have begun incorporating this sign into their designs – further cementing its place in modern culture.   

Rapper Symbols Beyond the Four-Finger Westside Symbol

Rapper Symbols Beyond the Four-Finger Westside Symbol

In addition to the four-finger Westside symbol, there are several other symbols used by rappers that have their own unique meanings  

•The 6 – The number 6 has long been associated with Toronto rapper Drake and his OVO crew, thanks to its inclusion on their merchandise and tattoos worn by Drake himself. The number 6 is an ode to Toronto’s area code 416, which is represented by two 3s (6 = 3+3).   

•Peace Sign – The peace sign was popularized by Tupac Shakur during his career as a rapper. It is said that Tupac was inspired to use the peace sign after seeing it being used as a greeting amongst members of gangs such as The Bloods and The Crips before he became famous. He later adopted it as part of his own personal brand.  

•The Diamond Hand Sign – This hand gesture was popularized by Jay Z who frequently flashed it during performances on stage or music videos. It stands for “Hova” (short for Jay Z’s nickname Hov) but also serves as an homage to one of Jay Z’s favorite designers, Jacob & Co., whose logo features a diamond shape with five points representing each letter in “Jacob & Co.   

•The Baphomet – This symbol has its origins in occultism but has since been adopted by some hip hop artists such as Tyler, The Creator who uses it on some of his merchandise like t-shirts and hoodies. It stands for rebellion against mainstream values and societal norms which some rappers find appealing given their underground nature within hip hop culture.   

Beyond Rap Music  

The 4-finger symbol has become so popular that it has spread beyond rap music into other areas of popular culture. For example, you may have seen athletes making this gesture after winning games or major events. This gesture can signify victory or success in any field and is now associated with hard work and dedication towards achieving goals.  

It has also become commonplace in photography and artwork, where it can be interpreted differently depending on its context. For example, some photographers may choose to use this symbol when taking photos of friends or family members to signify strong bonds between them. Others may use this symbol when taking photos of nature or landscapes as a way of expressing admiration for beauty found in nature. 


Why do rappers hold up 4 fingers is just one example of how symbols can be used to express feelings or show allegiance within hip hop culture. As demonstrated, there are numerous symbols beyond this which can all be interpreted differently depending on who you ask or where you look up their meaning from! Ultimately though, these signs are another way for fans to connect with their favorite rapper’s music or message without having to use words alone! So hopefully this blog post gave you some insight into why certain symbols have become so popular amongst hip hop artists! 


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