Like "smart-ass" or "jack-ass", I thought the word "ass" includes quite a negative nuance. But, sometimes, it seems some people use the word "badass" as a compliment. How's that possible?
Yes, that's correct! "Badass" (as well as "coolass" or "kickass") are all slang terms used in a positive way - to compliment someone or something as being cool. "Badass" in particular incorporates the word "bad," which is another slang term used to describe an extremely sexy, attractive woman. Thus, we can understand "I took my chick up to the North" to mean that Justin Bieber took his extremely attractive lover to the North (meaning Canada, as Justin Bieber's wife is American but he himself is from Canada). You are correct in assuming that "smartass" and "jackass" are usually meant in a negative way, however. It helps to figure out the intended meaning by considering the context and analyzing the tone of the sentence.
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