Sociolinguistic Studies, Vol 9, No 1 (2015)

Underlining authenticity through the recreolization process in rap music: A case of an in-group answer to an identity threat

Pedro Álvarez Mosquera
Issued Date: 11 Jun 2015


Despite its African American roots, there has been a gradual rise of rappers from different ethnic groups, which has placed authenticity, especially at the linguistic level, under the spotlight. In this article, we hypothesize that the recreolization process carried out by African American rappers can be directly connected with the appropriation of African American Vernacular English (AAVE) features by non-African American rappers. To test this hypothesis, we analyzed the use of four AAVE features by three African American rappers and three Caucasian rappers over the past three decades. Our results show the progressively increasing use of the four AAVE features by the African American rappers, as well as their appropriation by the Caucasian rappers to a varying extent. We argue that, from a sociocognitive point of view, the recreolization process constitutes an in-group strategy that enables African American rappers to preserve their distinctiveness as a way of responding to a perceived identity threat.

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DOI: 10.1558/sols.v9i1.19960


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