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Unformatted text preview: Hip Hop Language and Culture and April 30, 2009 Language in the USA What is hip-hop culture? What Hip-hop culture – conveying through music Hip-hop what’s really going on what’s You have to fill the void. –*iinterviewee in our –* nterviewee You
upcoming N-Word film. upcoming Formal definition: A music genre typically consisting of a music rhythmic vocal style called rap which is accompanied with backing beats. It is part of hip-hop culture which originated in the Bronx in 1970s, predominantly among African Americans and Latino Americans. Hip hop in academia Hip
– turntablism is a major at Berkeley College. – Prof Alim taught a course at Stanford on the Prof Language of Hip hop culture. Language – UC-Berkeley has offered a class on the poetry and UC-Berkeley history of Tupac Shakur; – UCLA is offering an urban language course through UCLA its anthropology department; – Harvard University will began a hip-hop archive. Hip Hop Culture & Hip-Hop Nation Hip-Hop What is the Hip Hop Culture? Who in this room feels that they are a part Who of Hip Hop Culture? of The apparent Hip-Hop nation (HHN) has a The black culture but a multiracial group of people who use it. (Sociologist Les Back, University of London) University Hip Hop Nation Language (HHNL) Language HHNL is rooted in African HHNL American Language (AAL) and communicative practices (Spady 1991; Smitherman 1997; Yasin 1999). Linguistically, HHNL both Linguistically, reflects and expands the African American Oral Tradition. American HHNL is just one of the many language HHNL varieties used by African Americans. varieties Is widely spoken inside and outside of the Is United States. United Is a language with its own grammar, lexicon Is and phonology as well as unique communicative style and discursive modes. communicative HHNL exhibits regional variation (Morgan, HHNL 2001a). 2001a). The fundamental aspect of HHNL is that it is The central to the life-worlds of the members of the HHN and suitable and functional for all of their communicative needs. communicative Discursive Practices in Hip-Hop Hip-Hop Modes of discourse that occur within a particular Modes community. community. African American English Oral Tradition – Call and response – interaction between lead singer Call and audience and – Ritual insults (playing the dozens) – two competitors two take turns insulting each other. It’s a contest of personal power; each putdown ups the ante putdown – Signifying – encoding messages in natural Signifying conversation – indirectness; scold or shame others into a commonly shared ethic into Call and response Call Anyone who has ever attended a Anyone hip hop performance can bear witness to this foundational call and response mechanism. and [Rapper] “Say 'Hoooo!' [Audience] 'Hoooooooo!' [Audience] [Rapper] Say 'Ho! Ho!' [Audience] 'Ho! Ho!’ [Audience] [Rapper] Somebody screeaaamm!' [Rapper] [Audience] 'AAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!'“ Signifying and Bustin (Bussin) (Bussin) Scholars have studied signification or Scholars signifyin’—or, in more contemporary, semantically similar Black terms, bustin, bustin crackin, and dissin crackin and dissin
*(Abrahams 1964, Kochman 1969, Kernan 1971, 1972, Smitherman 1973, 1977). 1973, What is signifying? What
A lefthanded compliment: an insult disguised as a compliment. A particular utterance may be an insult in one particular context and not in another. What pretends to be just be informative may intend to be persuasive. self-abasing remarks are frequently self-praise. self-abasing Signifyin: the Roots Signifyin: The Roots have been known to signify on audiences that are not as culturally responsive as they would like them to be. During a concert at Stanford University, they During stopped the music and began singing theme songs from 1980s television shows like “Diff'rent Strokes” and “Facts of Life,” snapping their fingers and singing in a corny (not cool) way. The largely white, middle-class audience of college The students sang along and snapped their fingers— students apparently oblivious to the insult. apparently Whites in Hip-Hop Whites
Whites (and many other groups) have been involved Whites in hip hop in varying degrees since it began. in
– Rick Rubin (Together with Russell Simmons he founded the Def Jam records in 1984). the – Vanilla Ice - American rapper, known today for the single "Ice Ice Baby" and for being a fake. "Ice – Eminem is the stage name of Marshall Bruce Mathers III who is widely accepted by the hip hop community. who Signifyin: thoughts from Hip-Hop artist Bushwick Bill* Hip-Hop “You lose flavor. You lose the slang. You lose the You basic everyday kickin it, you know, knowing what’s goin on at all times, you know what I’m saying? Knowing the new names for “5-0s”. They ain’t even 5Knowing 0s no more. They call them “po-pos”. That means 0s everything changes. And they call them “one-time”, you know what I’m saying? But you got to be in there to know that the police might know these words already. So they got to change up their dialect so that way it sounds like Pig Latin to the police.” way .” *member of the American hip-hop group Geto Boys. Regionalisms in hip hop
East Coast Coast
glottalization of medial flap, e.g. gettin’ [gɛʔɪn] (Morgan glottalization gettin 1993). 1993). mad as in “mad stupid” meaning “very stupid” (Morgan 1993). West Coast South Midwest Bay Area: man [mæn] pronounced [meɪn] “mayn” Bay man [meɪn] (Alim, 21). Hella as in “hella stupid” meaning “very stupid” (Morgan 1993). 1993). me pronounced like may [meɪ] (Alim, 11). may (Alim, St. Louis: the vowels in here, care, there, air [eɪr] St. here, homophonous with Standard English her [ɚ] (Alim, 21). (Alim, Regionalisms in hip hop Regionalisms Master P's signature phrase, “Ya heeeaaard may?” (‘You Master heard me?’) as characteristic of a southern variety of HHNL. HHNL. The term jawn emerged in the Philadelphia hip hop The jawn community. a word used by people in Philly, it can mean anything, like a fine girl, a blunt; can be used for everything. It basically means "thing" (Urban Dictionary) basically Mad is said to be East Coast. Hella is said to be West Mad Coast. Coast. “Game recognize game in the Bay, man.” Man [mæn] was Game Man [mæn] pronounced ‘mayn’ [meɪn] to accentuate this Bay Area pronounced pronunciation feature. Hip hop lexicon Hip hop lexicon
Urban Dictionary Rap Dictionary
http://www.urbandictionary.com http://www.rapdict.org/Main_Page Randall Kennedy Randall Kennedy Education Princeton University B.A. Princeton 1977 1977 Balliol College, Oxford University 1979, History University Yale Law School J.D. 1982 Position Professor of Law, Harvard Professor Law School Law Where does the N-Word come from? from? etymology: possibly derived from Latin, niger meaning black. niger black Originally a neutral word for describing Originally someone of African origin; by 1830 it had become a highly pejorative insult. become The N-word? Spell it out? Say it? Pause The awkwardly? awkwardly? Pronunciation Pronunciation
[nɪgǝr] (/r/ful pronunciation) [nɪgǝr] (/r/ful pronunciation)
“nigger” [nɪgǝ] (/r/less pronunciation) [nɪgǝ] (/r/less pronunciation) “nigga” Positive, ingroup use of the Nword is /r/ less. Racist, outgroup use is typically /r/ful. Prof. Kennedy’s main points… points… The N-word has a whole range of The meanings which range from positive to extremely negative. It can be said in many ways, put to It many uses, and can mean many things. things.
http://dir.salon.com/story/books/feature/2002/01/22/ken nedy/index.html Uses of the N-Word – from the film NNWord
According to linguist J. McWhorter: A word used by White Europeans against blacks; words as word weapons; reduced to nothing weapons; Affectionate leveler among males (and females) (muzshik – Russian peasant) (muzshik peasant) Class designation (this individual doesn’t know how to behave, Class and is projecting an image that can negatively affect others in the group) the Term used by Asian and Latino teenagers to indicate my good Term friend who is no worse or better than I am; hip-hop culture – black is cool black Positive in-group meanings… meanings… a trusted friend; a real man/person; real boyfriend, unpretentious, true to oneself; someone who is unrelentingly proud to be black and resists assimilation; rebellious, in your face (Smitherman 1977; also mentioned in the film N-Word) N-Word http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=nigga Negative in-group meanings meanings Unreliable Untrustworthy Having lowexpectations Ignorant Negative out-group meanings… meanings… Extremely derogatory term for a black person; anybody of any color who is considered stupid, or worthless (Prof. R. Kennedy, Nigger, p. 43). Some views from people in the N-Word film N-Word The more you use it, the less power the word has It’s designed to be derogatory; it can be the most loving and yet the most hateful word It’s a trigger word, that needs to be defused We take a word that’s been a burden to us, and spit it back out Use it to transcend racism; turning negatives into positives *from the film NWord (2008) Keepin it real! Keepin Originally hiphop artists attempted to demonstrate that they were real niggas. Real niggas meant they were telling exactly what was happening in the real word, on the streets. They had confrontations with police; they had been arrested perhaps They told the truth Artists like NWA (Niggers With An Attitude) distinguished themselves from other blacks who had too much invested in white society Other related terms Other Wigger or wigga: lliterally a white nigga or Wigger wigga iterally white person who identifies with hip hop culture (Smitherman). culture c.f. The White Negro by Norman Mailor. c.f. The Essay in “Advertisements for Myself” that describes the obsession of 1950s hipsters with black male street culture. with Replace NWord with My President?
Contributed by Zina Sanchez: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8sJOuEGq0 www.presidentplease.com President Please is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the abolition of “the NWord” and it’s replacement with the word “President”. (source: presidentplease.com) About My President “We’ve been deeply inspired by Barack Obama, who has led the entire country down a new road to freedom and self empowerment. Since we finally have an African American in the Oval Office, there is no better time for the black community to embrace a new optimism. We hope that this website will inspire hope, change, and a renewed positive attitude which we can carry into the future. Our dream is that every child born after January 20, 2009 won’t ever hear the N Word.” (Mission statement from presidentplease.com) July 2007 – Hundreds of onlookers cheered as the NAACP put to rest a longstanding expression of racism by holding a public burial for the Nword during its annual convention. Grammar: Habitual be be Probably the most often-studied feature of AAE in Probably Hip-Hop is habitual or be (S. Alim) habitual (S. Early studies of AAE syntax noted the uniqueness Early of this feature and were in agreement that it was used for recurring actions. recurring 1. We be clubbin’ on Saturdays. We be clubbin’ and could not be used in finite contexts: not 2. She be the teacher. 2. be Habitual be in contexts be
I be the truth. -- Philadelphia's Beanie Sigel be Dr. Dre be the name. -- Compton's Dr. Dre Dr. be This beat be the beat for the street. -- New York's Busta This be Rhymes Rhymes Brooklyn be the place where I served them thangs. -Brooklyn be New York's Jay-Z New I be that insane nigga from the psycho ward. -- Staten be Island's Method Man. Island's Equative copula*: everyday examples examples
We be them Bay boys. (Bay Area's Mac We be Mall in a conversation with James G. Spady) Spady) It [marijuana] be that good stuff. (Caller be on the local Bay Area radio station) on You know we be some baaad brothas. be (Philadelphia speaker in conversation) (Philadelphia
*has a subject compliment (boys, stuff, brothas), uses be as the verb *has be S. Alim’s (2002) main points: points: Hip Hop artists are ultra-conscious of their Hip speech. Hip Hop artists consciously vary their speech to Hip “represent” the streets. the Speech is thus consciously varied toward the Speech informal end of the continuum in order to maintain street credibility with the primary audience, the African American Street Culture. audience, MC battles MC Within hip-hop, MC battles are one of the Within most visible and potentially humiliating venues for demonstrating one’s verbal skill. This usually entails a combination of This spontaneous and pre-written rhymes and ritual insults directed at the opponent’s mother, sister, or crew but may also end in humiliation if the rhymes don’t flow. How do Eyedea’s opponents mark him as white? mark
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j288pLJbjv4&feature=related 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. 1. You shouldn’t be rappin’, you should be skate boardin’ the X-games. Where the fuck you from, Minnesota? Home of the Vikings and ho-ass Temple Wolves?! You belong on MTV. You ain’t fuckin’ with me, light skinned Eminem. You’re not from Detroit. Stop tryin’ to be Eminem. They got Shells battlin’ Lil’ Chuck Norris. I’ll be damned to lose against Vanilla Ice. You look like Buffy the mother fuckin’ rhyme slayer. Discussion 1 Does hip hop have a language? What is the future of hip hop? How do you think black hip hoppers feel How about the participation of whites? about Will hip hop be taken over by white Will performers someday like jazz and rock ‘n roll? roll? Discussion 2 Discussion Do you think White people have a right to use the Nword in any context? What are you feelings about the N word, after watching the film NWord? Should African American people continue to use the NWord? ...
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This note was uploaded on 09/27/2009 for the course LIM 200 taught by Professor Weisenberg during the Spring '09 term at SUNY Stony Brook.
- Spring '09