In today’s rap, the term “clout” is used for everything from describing a person’s hollow actions to measuring their sphere of influence. Genius data shows “clout” started appearing in rap lyrics as early as 1988 in songs by Too $hort and Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock. Genius spoke with journalist Robert Loerzel to trace the meaning and origins of the word, which he links to Chicago in the 1940s.

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