Assessing hip-hop discourse : Linguistic realness and styling

Faculty/Professorship: English and Historical Linguistics  
Author(s): Werner, Valentin  
Title of the Journal: Text & talk : an interdisciplinary journal of language, discourse & communication studies
ISSN: 1860-7349
Publisher Information: Berlin [u.a.] : Mouton de Gruyter
Year of publication: 2019
Volume: 39
Issue: 5
Pages: 671-698
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.1515/text-2019-2044
This study provides a corpus-linguistic take on hip-hop discourse (as represented in rap), relating to one of the most influential cultural mass movements to date. To this end, a custom-built corpus of lyrics by US-American rap artists (LYRAP) was compiled, containing performed hip-hop discourse over a 25-year period. This material is used to test the alignment of hip-hop discourse with African American English in terms of morphosyntax, and to determine the amount of styling present in the lyrics. In addition, a comparative perspective with pop lyrics (as represented in the LYPOP corpus) is established, and highly characteristic lexical and discourse features of hip-hop discourse are identified. The analyses suggest that “linguistic realness” (in terms of conveying a street-conscious identity) is created on multiple structural levels, but that different artists style their lyrics to various extents to achieve this realness, and that a complete congruence of African American English with hip-hop discourse cannot be traced.
GND Keywords: Hip-Hop ; Sprache ; Black English ; Korpus <Linguistik>
Keywords: hip-hop, rap, lyrics, pop culture, style, African American English, AAE
DDC Classification: 420 English  
RVK Classification: HF 991   
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Type: Article
Release Date: 13. August 2020
Awards: Habilitationspreis des Deutschen Anglistenverbands