chapter  4
40 Pages

“Bring it to the cypher”: Hip Hop Nation Language

The centrality of language to the HHN is evident in such song and album titles as “New Rap Language” (Treacherous Three, 1980), “Wordplay” (Bahamadia, 1996), “Gangsta Vocabulary” (DJ Pooh, 1997), “Project Talk” (Bobby Digital, 1998), “Slang Editorial” (Cappadonna, 1998), Real Talk 2000 (Three-X-Krazy, 2000), “Ebonics” (Big L, 2000), Country Grammar (Nelly, 2000), Project English (Juvenile, 2001), “Dangerous Language” (Afu-Ra, 2002), and many more. In numerous ethnographic interviews, I have found that language is a favorite topic of discussion in the HHN, and its members are willing to discuss it with great fervor-and to defend its use.