Contesting Meanings in the Postmodern Age

The Example of Nigerian Hip Hop Music

in Matatu
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?



Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.



Help

Have Institutional Access?



Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?



Connect

Recent years have seen an explosion in the production and consumption of hip hop music in Nigeria. From the MTV Africa Music Awards to the BET Awards, Nigerian hip hop heads have continued to push the boundaries of their music on the international front, linking it, in the process, to a sort of global Hip Wide Web. Yet, despite these breakthroughs, the general perception of the discursive landscape of this music is not altogether positive in Nigeria itself. In particular, the message(s) of the music’s lyrics has been severally described as a venture that has no meaning beyond its noisy character. This is especially the case when the music is being evaluated by older generations of Nigerian critics who do not share in, and are almost averse to, the hip hop culture that has newly ascended as the dominant youth culture. Problematizing these evaluations under five paradigms—crossing, multilingualism, and styling, repetition, inversion of order, meaninglessness, and pornography—this essay contends that what appears as meaninglessness in Nigerian hip hop music inscribes a masked matrix of meanings in the postmodern age. It argues that the elements of the lyrical gamut that are often perceived as meaningless are in fact meaningful and valuable resources that the artists, and by extension their audience members, harness to perform their generational ingroupness and multiplex postmodern identities.

Matatu

Journal for African Culture and Society

Sections

References

4

Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition, 76.

6

Garth Alper, “Making Sense Out of Postmodern Music?” Popular Music and Society 24 (2000): 2, http://pds7.egloos.com/pds/200711/30/28/making_sense_out_of_postmodern_music.pdf (accessed 4 July 2013).

7

Jonathan Donald Kramer, “Postmodern Concepts of Musical Time,” Indiana Theory Review 17 (1996): 21–61.

8

See Uchenna Ikonné, “Nigerian Rap: The First Decade (1981–1991),” AfricanHipHop, http://www.africanhiphop.com/naija-nigerian-80s-rap-on-vinyl/ (accessed 22 December 2014), and Alex Amos, “History of Nigerian Hip Hop Music: A Tale of 3 Decades,” http://www.360nobs.com/2012/07/history-of-nigerian-hip-hop-a-tale-of-3-decades/ (accessed 22 December 2014).

11

H. Samy Alim, “Straight Outta Compton, Straight aus München: Global Linguistic Flows, Identities, and the Politics of Language in a Global Hip Hop Nation,” in Global Linguistic Flows: Hip Hop Cultures, Youth Identities, and the Politics of Language, ed. H. Samy Alim, A. Ibrahim & Alastair Pennycook (New York: Routledge: 2009): 3.

15

Reuben Abati, “A Nation’s Identity Crisi,” The Guardian (21 June 2009): 35.

16

H. Samy Alim, “Translocal Style Communities: Hip Hop Youth as Cultural Theorists of Style, Language, and Globalization,” Pragmatics 19.1 (2009): 104.

17

See Ben Rampton, Crossing: Language and Ethnicity Among Adolescents (London: Longman, 1995).

19

Ben Rampton, “Language Crossing and the Redefinition of Reality: Expanding the Agenda of Research on Code-Switching,” in Code-Switching in Conversation: Language, Interaction and Identity, ed. Peter Auer (London: Routledge, 1998): 304.

20

Ben Rampton, “Styling the Other: Introduction,” Journal of Sociolinguistics 3.4 (November 1999): 421, italics in original.

21

Tope Omoniyi, “Hip-Hop Through the World Englishes Lens: A Response to Globalisation,” World Englishes 25.2 (May 2006): 195–208.

22

See J. Normann Jørgensen, “The Sociolinguistic Study of Youth Language and Youth Identities,” in Love Ya Hate Ya: The Sociolinguistic Study of Youth Language and Youth Identities, ed. J.N. Jørgensen (Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2010): 3. See also Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (1983; London: Verso, 2006).

23

Mela Sarkar & Lise Winer, “Multilingual Codeswitching in Quebec Rap: Poetry, Pragmatics and Performativity,” International Journal of Multilingualism 3.3 (2006): 173.

24

Alastair Pennycook, “Postmodernism in Language Policy,” in An Introduction to Language Policy: Theory and Method, ed. Thomas Ricento (Malden MA: Blackwell, 2006): 66–67. See also Rampton, “Styling the Other: Introduction,” 421.

27

Elinor Ochs, “Constructing Social Identity: A Language Socialization Perspective,” Research on Language and Social Interaction 26.3 (1993): 296.

28

H. Samy Alim, “Street-Conscious Copula Variation in the Hip Hop Nation,” American Speech 77.3 (2002): 300.

31

Akinmade Akande, “Code-Switching in Nigerian Hip-Hop Lyrics,” Language Matters 44.1 (2013): 50.

32

Abati, “A Nation’s Identity Crisis,” 35.

33

Marc D. Perry, “Global Black Self-Fashionings: Hip Hop as Diasporic Space,” Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 15.6 (December 2008): 636.

35

Mary Bucholtz, “ ‘Why Be Normal?’: Language and Identity Practices in a Community of Nerd Girls,” Language in Society 28.2 (1999): 203–224.

36

Olusegun Fariudeen Liadi, “Multilingualism and Hip Hop Consumption in Nigeria: Accounting for the Local Acceptance of a Global Phenomenon,” Africa Spectrum 1 (2012): 17.

39

James Braxton Peterson, The Hip-Hop Underground and African American Culture: Beneath the Surface (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014): 15. See also Abigail T. Derecho, “Illegitimate Media: Race, Gender and Censorship in Digital Remix Culture” (doctoral dissertation, Northwestern University, 2008): 22.

40

Steven Shaviro, “Supa Dupa Fly: Black Women as Cyborgs in Hip Hop Videos,” Quarterly Review of Film and Video 22.2 (April–June 2005): 169.

43

Steven Shaviro, “Supa Dupa Fly: Black Women as Cyborgs in Hip Hop Videos,” 169.

44

Shaviro, “Supa Dupa Fly,” 169.

46

Jean Aitchinson, “ ‘Say, Say it Again Sam’: The Treatment of Repetition in Linguistics,” in Repetition, ed. Andreas Fischer (SPELL: Swiss Papers in English and Literature; Tübingen: Gunter Narr, 1994): 16.

52

S. Timothy Brown, “ ‘Keeping it Real’ in a Different ’Hood: (African)-Americanization and Hip Hop in Germany,” in The Vinyl Ain’t Final: Hip-Hop and Globalization of Black Popular Culture, ed. Dipannita Basu & Sidney Lemme (London: Pluto, 2006): 138.

54

Stephanie Shonekan, “Nigerian Hip Hop: Exploring a Black World Hybrid,” in Hip Hop Africa: New African Music in a Globalizing World, ed. Eric Charry (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2012): 151.

55

Samy H. Alim, Roc the Mic Right: The Language of Hip Hop Culture (London: Routledge, 2006): 113.

62

Roberta Uno, “Theatres Crossing the Divide: A Baby Boomer’s Defense of Hip-Hop Aesthetics,” in Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip-Hop, ed. Jeff Chang (New York: Basic Civitas, 2006): 300. See also Kimberley Monteyne, Hip Hop on Film: Performance Culture, Urban Space, and Genre Transformation in the 1980s (Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 2013): 3.

63

Samson Dare, “Sexual Discourse in Niyi Osundare’s Poetry: A Sociolinguistic Reading,” African Study Monographs 26 (2005): 90.

64

Abati, “A Nation’s Identity Crisis,” 35.

65

Wilson Akpan, “And the Beat Goes On? Message Music, Political Repression and the Power of Hip-Hop in Nigeria,” in Popular Music Censorship in Africa, ed. Michael Drewett & Martin Cloonan (Aldershot & Burlington VT: Ashgate, 2006): 92.

66

Akpan, “And the Beat Goes On? Message Music, Political Repression and the Power of Hip-Hop in Nigeria,” 94.

69

Simon Frith, “Music and Identity,” in Questions of Cultural Identity, ed. Stuart Hall & Paul du Gay (Thousand Oaks CA & London: Sage, 1996): 109.

70

Deborah Cameron, “Gender and Language Ideologies,” in The Handbook of Language and Gender, ed. Janet Holmes & Miriam Meyerhoff (Malden MA: Blackwell, 2003): 461.

71

Akpan, “And the Beat Goes On?,” 100.

72

Appignanesi et. al., Introducing Post-Modern-Ism, 145.

Information

Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 14 14 9
Full Text Views 5 5 5
PDF Downloads 2 2 2
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0