In a 1996 song called Changes, the late rapper Tupac Shakur, speaking of America, said: “Although it seems heaven sent, we ain’t ready to see a black president”. This was the case until November 2008, when the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States has made Martin Luther King’s dream come true. In the months leading up to the election, many African American rappers have endorsed Obama’s candidacy, giving rise to a new hip-hop genre called Obama Rap. Political endorsement is an unusual conduct of rap music, which, as a genre strongly related to the experience of race and American Blackness in particular, has always been against the Establishment, hence marked by disruptive lyrics, expressing black America’s rage and discontent. Applying the Appraisal Framework (an approach to exploring, describing and explaining the way language is used to evaluate, to adopt stances and to manage interpersonal relationships) to a small corpus of rap songs, the present paper aims at investigating to what extent lexical choices, linguistic uses and the employment of pragmatic strategies in the lyrics of the so-called Obama Rap may reveal a sort of reconciliation between rap music and politics, in an attempt to discuss whether or not a new idea of Black identity emerges.

“Black Man Runnin’ and It Ain’t from the Police”: Rap Music, Political Endorsement and Black Identity

ATTOLINO, Paola
2015

Abstract

In a 1996 song called Changes, the late rapper Tupac Shakur, speaking of America, said: “Although it seems heaven sent, we ain’t ready to see a black president”. This was the case until November 2008, when the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States has made Martin Luther King’s dream come true. In the months leading up to the election, many African American rappers have endorsed Obama’s candidacy, giving rise to a new hip-hop genre called Obama Rap. Political endorsement is an unusual conduct of rap music, which, as a genre strongly related to the experience of race and American Blackness in particular, has always been against the Establishment, hence marked by disruptive lyrics, expressing black America’s rage and discontent. Applying the Appraisal Framework (an approach to exploring, describing and explaining the way language is used to evaluate, to adopt stances and to manage interpersonal relationships) to a small corpus of rap songs, the present paper aims at investigating to what extent lexical choices, linguistic uses and the employment of pragmatic strategies in the lyrics of the so-called Obama Rap may reveal a sort of reconciliation between rap music and politics, in an attempt to discuss whether or not a new idea of Black identity emerges.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4644766
 Attenzione

Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo

Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact