Where does "You 'da Man" come from?

I know I’m probably going to hit myself on the forehead later for not knowing an obvious piece of current pop culture. This question came to me after winning a game of pool at a bar recently where I was high fived (different question I suppose) and my billiards partner exclaimed “you da man”, where I replyed with the standard, “no you da man” back to him.

anyone shed some light on our ritual?


2 Samuel 12:7 And Nathan said to David, thou art the man.

But that’s only a guess.

My $0.02 is that the term first came into wide usage during the late 80’s / early 90’s.

I seem to recall first hearing it shouted out after professional golfers hit a ball for a drive. It seems some goofball, very louldly would yell: “You da man!” immediately as the club hit the ball. It seemed an odd spectacle and I believe it received some airplay on the sports highlight reels. It wasn’t long before others followed suit and the phrase moved from the golf world and into the popular lexicon.

I could be way off on this one, so take it only FWIW.

P.S. Welcome aboard!

Howie Long to John Travolta in Broken Arrow (ca. 1995).

“You da Man, Zeke” (or Deke, I can’t remember)

::hangs head in shame::

I can’t believe that I can quote a line from this movie.

I would be almost certain it originated as street slang (probably back to the early 1980s, at least?), and was then snatched up in the 90s by the masses after endless usage in pop culture – a la “You go, girl!” and “My bad.”

I seem to connect it to golf as well - as a caddy in the 80s, I remember a few rather ‘refined’ golfers speaking about it and how tacky it was to shout it out during a professional golf tourney, and how during some British event, one of the commentators remarked to the other sarcastically ‘Well, I can see the Americans are represented oin the crowd today’ or some such comment.

Is there anyone doubting that it originated as urban black slang? There was a movie in '91 or '92 called Who Da Man. Funny as hell. Obviously the phrase predated the movie.

The movie of that title was actually “Who’s the Man?” (not Who da Man), starring Ed Lover and Dr. Dre (the other Dr. Dre, not the rap impresario). But the phrase goes back further than I’d thought, to the mid-1970s at least. That was when the never-sufficiently-to-be-praised funk band, the Kay Gees, released “Master Plan”, which contained the often-sampled lyric “Who’s the man, with the master plan?” I think this could be the pop culture root of the phrase, since the lyric was sampled heavily throughout the 1980s. That’s why it was ubiquitous enough by the 1980s for old white guys at country clubs to embarrass themselves exclaiming it.