Hip Hop Linguistics

Superior Essays
I would argue that it’s the linguistics of hip-hop that make it such a popular genre. The beats, the rhythm and the undeniable vernacular all co-mingle in order to create its very distinct sound. The emergence of multiple hip-hop generations has birthed new editions and approaches to the English language because the linguistics of rap and hip-hop are deeply rooted in Black English (B.E). In turn, hip-hop has created a gateway for B.E. to become integrated and used throughout the mainstream world. Linguist John McWorther stated, “Black English, especially the cadence, is becoming America’s youth lingua franca, especially since the mainstreaming of hip-hop.” The use of B.E. in something as commercial as hip-hop gave way for its normalization …show more content…
“As the streets of New York City erupted in violence, social decay and economic demise- young, multiethnic inner-city kids created their own solution to the traumatic changes they continually faced.” Over time, hip-hop gained popularity and eventually turned into the biggest form of black expression through rapping about the black and inner-city experience. “At first, this local phenomenon was ignored by mainstream America..." (Price, 1). It wasn’t until 1980 with the song “Rapper’s Delight” by the Sugarhill Gang that hip-hop erupted into the mainstream world. This was when America became exposed to hip-hop and B.E. on a commercial level. It is safe to say that today, rap and hip-hop have been adopted by the nation as a …show more content…
For example, in Nantucket native Meghan Trainor’s song “NO” she is heard leaving off the “t” in “but” and replaces the “th” in “there” with a D. Yet in her interviews, she loses her blaccent (Wallace). Australian rap artist Iggy Azalea goes as far as adopting both the vernacular, cadence, and grammar of B.E. in her music, but speaks in her native and very thick Australian accent outside of the confines of her music. She has been under a lot of scrutiny for this by fellow hip-hop artists who have accused her of mastering black mimicry (Zimmerman). This same sort of desire to sound black can be heard across all music genres and includes artists like Mick Jagger, Sting, and Pink, among many others. None of these artists hail from B.E. speaking communities. Using B.E., inside of hip-hop, as a non-authentic speaker can be seen as a means of selling yourself to the group you would like to identify with (Wallace). The acceptance of the blaccent in hip-hop is one of the ways B.E. has become so normalized. When disingenuous artists use B.E., it is not something they fully understand, they are borrowing someone else’s identity and using it to their advantage-in this case, the advantage is selling records. Borrowing from a black identity does not carry the same repercussions

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